How Joining Fastly Improved Glitch’s Privacy Game

As developers, the industry has taught us to fear for our favorite apps and services in the face of acquisition. Sometimes it means discontinuing the best parts of what we enjoy, or worse—shutting down entirely. With that in mind, we wanted to contribute to the Privacy Week conversation by shedding light on how being acquired by Fastly has strengthened many of Glitch’s services, especially when it comes to our community’s data privacy.

In case you missed it, Glitch was acquired by Fastly in May of this year. We like to call Glitch the friendly place where everyone builds the web with the help of a unique coding editor, the ability to create full-stack apps in seconds, and a welcoming community of developers and web devotees. 

As part of every acquisition, the due diligence process allows the buyer to gain insight into the company, its people, and how it operates. During this process, we worked with Fastly to diagram the entirety of the systems that devs interact with to use our services. This conversation enhanced the depth of our compliance with data processing laws and regulations, and gave us direction on places where we could be more explicit and protective in our compliance approach.

Data privacy is protected by an emerging set of policies, but they’re rooted in principles that we believe make for a stronger, healthier version of the web. You should have control over your data, and you shouldn’t be surprised by how other people take advantage of it. Modeling and operationalizing this for our developer community is a job we take seriously, and provides a clean starting point for your own apps.

As a rule, Glitch only collected data if we absolutely had to, and this aligned with Fastly’s  existing practices and philosophy. So frequently we hear about other organizations’ prioritizing risk management at the expense of developers. Not so with Fastly. They matured us from a startup’s approach to privacy – mostly checking all the right boxes – to a consistent, powerful and insightful policy that begins and ends with the user. 

Thanks to Fastly, our data erasure processes are more robust, supported by Fastly’s existing discipline and practices. Their strong legal and customer support teams help us do these jobs better. From day one they understood our community focus, they knew we wanted to protect our users, and only helped us strengthen that protection.

Glitch has always focused on making things easy for developers, particularly when it comes to translating our terms into simple language that anyone can understand. We put our community first and continue to prioritize people. However, acquisition is a stressful process, and one developers don’t trust. Well, we are a whole company of developers… so there was some skepticism, to put it lightly!

Terms of Service are going to change in any acquisition, but instead of draconian rights claims or sneaky surveillance, the legal team at Fastly helped us strengthen the privacy rights for our community, bringing new depth and rigor to our data handling and processing terms and keeping all of our simple language in place and giving it new strength. 

It’s not easy being community driven, but after seeing Fastly’s willingness to embrace and strengthen our community focus, we all knew we’d found the right match. And the best part is that our developers can trust their data is not only safe and handled in the right ways, but that it will continue to be in the future, as well.

This post is part of Privacy Week, where Fastly is bringing you stories about how we’re integrating privacy practices and technology into the very fabric of the internet.

Jesse von Doom
Head of Product, Developer Experience

3 min read

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Jesse von Doom
Head of Product, Developer Experience

Jesse von Doom is Head of Product for the DX team and joined Fastly as part of Glitch. Prior to Glitch he was Digital Director of the Mozilla Foundation, a fellow with the Shuttleworth Foundation, and Executive Director of CASH Music. He likes rainbows a lot.

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