SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 23, 2013 — / — If you are connected to the Internet at the moment, then there is a pretty good chance your information is being collected. Companies are gathering every piece of personal data they can get their hands on, including your browsing habits, physical location and the applications you use on your computer, phone or tablet. Then your information is packaged and sold, all in the name of profit.

Currently, companies are trying to do everything they can to hide this simple fact – that they are gathering and then selling this information about you. California AB1291 – the ‘Right to Know’ Act – is slated to change all this. The Right to Know Act requires companies to disclose what information they have gathered about you and with whom they have shared this information. The ultimate goal is transparency – to better educate you about who and what has access to your data.

A gaggle of tech giants from Google to Facebook to Microsoft want to stop the bill’s passage. Their lobbyists have twice delayed the bill from being heard in front of the California State Legislature. Presently, it won’t be discussed until January of next year, at the earliest. It appears as though these billion-dollar businesses think that increased transparency just might impact their profits.

“To say that user knowledge impacts profitability sounds particularly shortsighted,” said Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak, the ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy cloud technologies provider. “Individuals have the right to know how companies collect and share their information, and companies should value this user trust instead of running away from it. Increased transparency will definitively create a greater level of trust between online entities and thus further drive innovation. We stand behind the Right to Know Act in its current form and hope others –individuals and companies alike – will join the cause toward a more transparent tomorrow.”

Time to Regulate Data Mines
Techies like to say “data is the new oil.” New technologies have made data mining, the practice of analyzing and profiting from vast amounts of consumer information, easier than ever. But data mines, unlike oil wells and coal mines, don’t have any regulations or standards in place.

The result is the same as in any unregulated industry – companies can make enormous amounts of money at the expense of unwilling or unknowing participants. According to research done for the Right to Know Act, some websites employ up to 100 tracking devices to gather information on users [1]. Information about your health problems, sexual preference, political views and income is fair game for data collection.

Americans Deserve to Know
Twenty-seven countries in the European Union already recognize the risk of having user information available for harvesting. Companies operating there, including Facebook and Google, already disclose their information-gathering activity to consumers. However, Americans remain in the dark and will continue to do so until the Right to Know Act has the opportunity to be heard and discussed publicly. At present, we ‘consumers’ must take our rights into our own hands.

To be clear, the Right to Know Act is not an attack on any one company’s ability to collect and sell user information or to overburden a company’s ability to provide such information. The business model of collection and sale of information – if well managed – can provide great benefit to all parties involved. However, imagine how much more powerful those connections could be with full consent and understanding. This is goal of the Right to Know Act – to increase transparency and enable greater information flow.

A Differentiated Approach
Operating from the opposite approach, SpiderOak’s ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy environment gives the freedom of data back to users. The company accomplishes this by never having access to plaintext data and therefore divorcing itself from the ability to monetize this information under any circumstance. As such, SpiderOak can focus on providing a great service and charging solely for the functions that it is designed for, namely data backup, sharing, syncing, access and storage.

Further, through Crypton, SpiderOak’s newly released ‘Zero-Knowledge’ open source application framework, any company or development team can benefit from a ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy architecture and protect against the threat that accompanies plaintext data.

To learn more about SpiderOak or Crypton, please visit: or

To explore how companies gain access to your private information, go to:

[1] San Jose Mercury News, “Silicon Valley Companies Quietly Try to Kill Internet Privacy,” 21 April 2013.

Press Team

SpiderOak, Inc.
555 Huehl Road
Northbrook, IL
USA, 60062

Source: SpiderOak


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