There are many worthy problems in the world, global warming, the rise of potentially viable long term dictatorships and oligarchies, socio-economic inequality, not just within nations, but between them and more. But a man is just one person, and you can only do so much. The privacy issue is something I do care about, and I do think I have the skill and capability to do something about it too.
The Privacy Company
I think the Snowden revelations, covert mass surveillance, ISPs & VPNs selling your traffic data to anyone who will pay and the march towards every single app has some sort of remote analytics means that it’s extremely difficult to not be surveiled by corporations and governments if you so much touch a computer. Compute platforms are boiling frogs, with the apple m1 not allowing VPNs to execute unless distributed by the mac app store and many other restrictions cinching in slowly bit by bit is showing that we are going to a world where you are not in control of your computer. “General purpose computing was a mistake” is slowly gaining ground bit by bit, as predicted by Cory Doctrow 10 years ago. The only performant computers being the console computer is nigh.
People want privacy, but feel despondent that there are no real options and are lulled to a false sense of security because the large organizations that surveil them are silent or covert about their reactions to such surveillance. Apple, while labelling themselves as the privacy company, are missing key privacy protections they are capable of doing, such as end to end encrypting iMessage backups and other iCloud data points. This is believed to be happening because of covert threats by the Chinese & US milliary & police. People although do believe that apple is ‘the privacy company’ until maybe very recently and Apple’s marketing efforts shows that there is demand for privacy and people do pay money. Efforts by governments to ban E2E encrypted software also shows that these privacy technologies are effective on some level too, otherwise these governments would not try to create worldwide legislation towards banning it.
Since I’m a software professional, I want to work on creating a sort of iCloud or Google Workspace that people can use to privately encrypt their personal lives. I want to create ‘the privacy company’, whose tools are as user friendly yet as private as Signal’s. Since much of software is more profitable as a B2B product, and many say we would have to make this thing a B2B product that B2C or SOHO customers could also use for reasonable prices. You see this with dropbox going from B2C to B2B slowly over time.
I know that in making ‘the privacy company’ we will probably be subject to same pressures that such megacorps such as apple have not had the desire or ability to fully stand up to. But with money comes the ability to lobby for your position, and there is privacy tech such as signal or standard notes out there that does make a large difference in people’s lives. You can look at my other posts such as my e2ee apps, e2ee note taking app research to see my preliminary research into some of the privacy things out there. I’m not the only one, and there are others out there who want to start “the privacy company”, such as zood 1, which is a good sign.
Markets that appreciate personal privacy more than other cultures tend to be Japan and Germany, which might be a good secondary marketing target after the English speaking world.