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The internet has done much to improve the lives of people around the world, but this expansion has certain not come without its drawbacks. As people become increasingly reliant on the internet for shopping and other needs, so too will others increasingly attempt to take advantage of them.
The founders of the Polish startup PrivacyProtector (familiar to us from Startup Week Vienna 2011) believe that they have developed a method for ensuring that people might browse the internet with peace of mind. As explained to me by one of the site’s founders, Blazej Marciniak, this startup has developed a software which will enable information to be stored on the user’s machine and will transfer it to the ISP and beyond by essentially shredding it into various pieces and ensure that it cannot be traced back to the source. While there would typically be a direct connection between the user’s IP and ISP, this technology will encrypt the information and give the user privacy protection when browsing the web. Of course, for those so inclined, this software not only offers protection from outside threats, but also allows users to access media from foreign countries (Hulu, which is available solely in the United States, and Netflix, available typically in North America, the UK, and the Nordic states, are given as examples.)
At the moment, the software functions only on Windows (2000, Vista, XP, and 7), but it is expected to eventually be made available on Mac. I asked the startup founder about the company’s funding source and was informed that the first tranche of funding came from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and the second was obtained through the seed fund FZ KPT and SATUS. At the moment, Marciniak states that PrivacyProtector intends to expand through a viral marketing campaign (oh, don’t we all hope for our work to go viral?) but importantly also through its partnership with AllPlayer, online multimedia player, popular in Poland (we know now who would like the privacy).
As this startup is still young, it’s understandable that the developers wish to find their footing before pushing out software prematurely. The full product isn’t free, but that’s really no different from paid apps or from other security software which must be purchased. At 2 Euros per month, the service is not terribly expensive, either. Those interested in temporary access or willing to sacrifice some functionality may download the free version. For further information, Marciniak recommends the site gatelessvpn.com/.
Competition to PrivacyProtector already exists in Poland: it is a venture by Red Sky Group, called Bart VPN which launched its services earlier this year, and quite possibly some others.
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