By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
This March, our very own David Gorodyansky presented a panel discussion at the 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Gorodyansky co-founded AnchorFree at the age of 23 with a single mission in mind: to make Internet freedom and online privacy a reality for every computer user on the planet.
As CEO, Gorodyansky nurtured AnchorFree from its seedling stage to the thriving business it is today. Hotspot Shield products protect over 300 million customers daily. Every month, six million new customers join the Hotspot Shield family.
At SXSW, Gorodyansky addressed core issues that affect all Internet users. The following matters rank among his top concerns:
Owning Your Own Data
David Gorodyansky wants you to own your own data. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not.
By now, chances are high that at least some of your personal data has become entrenched in the bowels of the world-wide web. Social security numbers, bank IDs, purchase records, browser histories, you name it—your data is a product. For hackers, business people, and other opportunists, that product is a gold mine. Do you know who’s profiting from your data?
And shouldn’t you be able to choose who, if anyone, makes money from said data? Gorodyansky thinks so.
Unfortunately, hackers will find ways to leach data from you even if you don’t surrender it willingly. Spyware nabs personal information when you least expect it. Public Wi-Fi grounds teem with information hijackers. At SXSW, Gorodyansky will discuss the right to own your own data and the potential for this right to become the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Europe’s “Right to Be Forgotten” and the Rest of the World
Last year, the EU’s highest court approved Europeans’ “right to be forgotten” on the Internet. This means that in Europe, Google and other search engines can’t share potentially harmful private information with online searchers. The EU ruling flies in the face of Americans’ “freedom of information” principle.
Put simply, our First Amendment guarantees the free flow of information online. Europe’s right to be forgotten guarantees a free-flow stoppage. The two ideals clash.
“How,” asks Forbes writer Daniel Fisher, “could the U.S. get so far out of whack with Europe on personal privacy?” In Gorodyansky’s presentation at SXSW, the CEO tackled this question by examining the bizarre intersection of privacy, policy, and technology in today’s digital world.
Privacy: A Luxury or a Right?
If you have the money to pay for online privacy tools, you might be lucky enough to escape the prying eyes of hackers, money-hungry businesses, and other nosy entities. Then again, you might not.
The truth is, pervasive tracking via Internet cookies, consumer monitoring firms, and other online surveillance techniques threaten us all. Last year, data breaches affecting eBay and Michaels customers sent chills of horror down the collective American spine. Hundreds of similar breaches rob consumers of their peace of mind and personal security each year.
Those who can afford to buy throwaway identities or other privacy safeguards enjoy enhanced privacy protection—maybe—but it’s still not enough. We’re all sitting ducks when it comes to online security breaches. Which begs the question: when will we stop viewing privacy as a luxury only some can afford?
Gorodyansky sees online privacy and protection as a basic right. He’s a warrior in the battle to protect your data, and he wields Hotspot Shield as his weapon of choice.
Promoting Privacy Through Politics
The Internet, according to David Gorodyansky, is the “epitome of free speech.” In the coming decade, that speech could potentially improve the lives of millions through digitalized education, medical care, and other critical services.
In partnership with the government, security companies like AnchorFree strive to provide both access and privacy to billions of people. Public policy and legislation have the power to make or break this goal. David Gorodyansky and his team are working diligently to effect change, but as we all know, miraculous public policy doesn’t bloom overnight.
David Gorodyansky’s dream of complete Internet freedom has journeyed far since AnchorFree’s inception in 2005. We’re proud of the strides we’ve made against online predators and unfounded censorship. Over the next 10 years, we expect to affect many more positive changes. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.