Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

Fighting for the Right to Know

In February a bill was introduced in the State of California by Assembly Member Lowenthal called AB 1291 or the ‘Right To Know’ Act.

The central theme of the ‘Right to Know’ Act is transparency – creating a way for the user of a service to request and thus understand all the information a company has about them in terms of what was given, what was shared, as well as what may have been inferred. And despite various company spokesmen speaking up in favor of AB 1291 (e.g. increased transparency), behind closed doors many of these same companies are working to defeat the bill via industry groups and coalitions.

It is tough to argue against transparency. And it has always been our belief that a more transparent ecosystem would give way to a better educated consumer which ultimately means a better business environment. After all, we would hate to think that somehow companies were taking advantage of us in any way and the ‘Right to Know’ Act is a way through this potential fear.

For these reasons and more, we felt compelled to come out in favor of AB 1291. Below is the letter we sent to Assemblymember Lowenthal in show of our support:

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March 21, 2013

 

The Honorable Bonnie Lowenthal

State Capitol, Room 3152

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

Re:  Support for AB 1291 (Lowenthal), The Right to Know Act

Dear Assemblymember Lowenthal:

On behalf of SpiderOak, Inc, we are writing to express our support for AB 1291, the Right to Know Act.

The Right to Know Act would modernize California’s Shine the Light Act (Civ. Code 1798.83), which was intended to provide Californians with the right to know when businesses are sharing their personal information. In the years since the passage of the Shine the Light Act, its definitions and mechanisms have been outpaced by rapid changes in technology, data collection, and business practices. The Right to Know Act would update this important measure.

We stand in support of the Right to Know Act for two reasons. First, SpiderOak strongly supports the principle that individuals deserve the right to know how their personal information has been collected and shared. Protecting user privacy needs to be an essential part of how we as a society address the growth of online activity. Therefore, we support efforts to provide individuals with consistent transparency across all of the companies who handle personal information.

Second, SpiderOak believes that transparency and greater understanding will help all businesses in the modern data ecosystem thrive – including SpiderOak. Businesses that handle personal information rely on user trust – that the business is handling information with the utmost care and concern. As the ‘cloud’ medium grows, information collection and gathering has increased exponentially. By increasing transparency, we believe that the Right to Know Act will promote good data stewardship across the board and thus increase overall trust in and usage of data-driven services, promoting innovation and business growth.

California residents and companies both deserve an online world where users can truly understand how their personal information is collected and shared. Transparency is a necessary step in building that world. For that reason, we are proud to join you in supporting the Right to Know Act.

Sincerely,

Ethan Oberman

CEO
SpiderOak, Inc

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We are curious to hear your thoughts on the ‘Right to Know’ Act and where you stand. Feel free to leave your comments here and looking forward to the dialogue!

Secure & private storage API on the horizon?

We wanted to share our announcement that just hit the wire today:

2013: The Year of Privacy

SpiderOak Bringing Privacy to the Cloud Through Open Source ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Application Framework

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – Jan 28, 2013)– SpiderOak, the ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy cloud technologies provider, revealed today that the company will release an open source ‘zero-knowledge’ application framework (ZKAF) to push privacy further into the web than previously possible. The official launch will come at the RSA Conference in San Francisco and will further signify the evolution from Internet security to cloud privacy.

The ZKAF open source code will be made available on February 25. Additional details leading up to the announcement will be available at the SpiderOak website: spideroak.com.

2013 – The Year Privacy was Found

As the cloud has gone mainstream, so too has the conversation around security. With more data being pushed to cloud servers throughout the world — the need to ensure the data is safe grows. Amidst this dialogue, the concept of ‘privacy’ has been drowned out as it was previously thought not possible to both preserve the privacy of data and also benefit from the advantages of the Internet. This is now all changing.

SpiderOak’s launch of its ZKAF will enable companies and/or developers to apply this framework on top of their application and enjoy all the benefits of ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy without having to understand the detailed specifics around cryptography and encryption. In practical terms, this means that any data generated by an application will never be readable on the server it is stored and, henceforth, remains private and in full control of the end user.

SpiderOak: Privacy Built Into the Technology

From the ground up, SpiderOak was designed with privacy at the core. The company’s industry-leading ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy standard protects user data by encrypting file backup, synchronization and storage throughout every stage. SpiderOak servers never store the plaintext version of a user’s encryption keys (or password). As a result, nobody can view any portion of a user’s content including filenames, file types, folder names, etc. Even the members of the SpiderOak staff with physical access to the servers can never view plaintext user information.

With SpiderOak Blue, the company brings the ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy environment to the enterprise. Through a virtual machine running behind a company’s firewall, SpiderOak Blue connects to LDAP / ActiveDirectory to provide consistent authentication procedures. IT departments have the flexibility and control to create and deploy specific end-device builds depending on the user — managing how and when individual files should be backed up and/or synced. A private cloud offering is also available such that the entire solution is contained behind the company’s firewall or within their server environments.

For more information on SpiderOak Private Cloud and other enterprise products, please visit: spideroak.com/business.

Media Contact:
Ethan Parker, BOCA Communications: (415) 377-0978

Sharing 101: Family, Friends, Colleagues, or Clients

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re talking to you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for our next POP QUIZ so you can receive extra GBs.

SpiderOak sharing function is engineered to create flexibility and convenience for you, in a private environment.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.

Features 101: 5 Characteristics That Make SpiderOak Different

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re talking to you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for our next POP QUIZ tomorrow so you can receive extra GBs.


Apologies for the brief blackout in this video

Whether you need to access a document you have stored on a remote server, synchronize data between a Mac, Windows or Linux device, share important business documents with your clients, or just rest easy knowing all of your data is safely, securely, and automatically backed up – SpiderOak is there for you. Ethan Oberman shows off 5 distinct characteristics.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.

Zero-Knowledge 101: What It Is & What It Means to You

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re talking to you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for our next POP QUIZon Friday so you can receive extra GBs.

Who can you trust? This is an important question in today’s race to the cloud. We’ve worked hard over the past six years to build a trustworthy product that upholds user privacy above all else. SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman explains how SpiderOak developed its ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy policy, what it is, and how it works.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.