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Are Privacy services the next cash cow?

by on21 May 2014 1426 times

In the post Snowden world people are concerned about privacy (rightfully so). The revelation that the companies we have trusted with our personal information and data might be working with government agencies to catalog and track what we do and say is a sobering one. It also raises concerns about how to protect our individual rights moving forward. In many ways the public reaction is similar to what happened when the first widely distributed and harmful viruses hit the streets.

Back in 1998 the Chernobyl (CIH) virus hit the streets and caused an unprecedented amount of damage (roughly $1 Billion in damages). It was a fairly simple bit of code that was able to overwrite critical system files and system BIOSes as well. This rendered many systems completely inoperative and was one of the sparks that ignited the home security market. Now that industry is a monster with a number of appliances, APIs, applications, cloud solutions and more all fighting for your money.

The Privacy market could be heading down that same path as companies scramble to meet the demand for “private” services. There has been a resurgence of public proxy sites, “private” VPN connections an increased interest (and use) in TOR, and even concept phones designed with privacy in mind. These items are starting to generate even money for the companies that are developing them. An example of this is the $30 Million that Private phone maker Silent Circle has generated for their Black Phone.

This new phone has sparked a considerable amount of interest (to say the least) in people looking to make sure that their data and conversations are not overheard by anyone. However, Silent Circle is not just about a phone, they are also working on private email in concert with the guys from Lavabit. You remember Lavabit right? They are the guys that hosted a private email service only to have the NSA and FBI drive them out of business with demands for user information. Silent Circle even has PGP creator Phil Zimmermann on the team. This should make this company a monster and one that others will emulate.

Of course, there are still concerns. One of these is what will happen when privacy becomes much more mainstream? Will this turn into the same type of market we have in anti-malware? Right now that market is so far behind the “bad guys” that some people are wondering why they should keep paying for protection that never seems to work.  We hope things do not get to that stage and that this new movement will not only drive security to a better place, but also send a message to corporations and the government: people do not like having their information tracked, cataloged and monitored without just cause.  If that happens, maybe we can effect some real change.

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Last modified on 21 May 2014
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