How Tauria’s fighting for a future where privacy matters to everyone – and every businessJackie Gill - April 30, 2020
Imagine a database that knows every single thing about you.
There’s the surface stuff: your name, your interests, where you live, where you work, the places you go, what you look like and the websites and apps you use. In fact, chances are, you’re knowingly sharing a lot of that already.
But then there’s the less obvious stuff. Those private messages you share with a significant other. The deeper stories your data tells about you that you never chose to share.
“Some of this information might seem very innocuous, but who knows what can be done with that in the future?” asks Jessé David Thé. “Some data might be something simple like your sleep patterns or shopping habits but then in a few years all of a sudden your premiums go up because turns out those patterns correlate with a higher risk of heart disease.”
After all, data can hide biases that lead to bad decisions. It can be combined and manipulated to serve ulterior motives, like in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Ultimately, misuse could put lives (and livelihoods) at risk.
Thé is the CEO and co-founder of Tauria a secure productivity platform that lets businesses message, call, set schedules and share files easily while keeping data safe from prying eyes through military-grade encryption. And he thinks a lot about what the future will look like.
“We’ve gone too far in this direction of privacy doesn’t matter,” he says. “We want to bring it back to where things were before … towards the idea that, if it’s your private life, it’s your private life. It’s none of my business or anyone else’s.”
Here’s a glimpse into the future that Tauria’s fighting for.
Ditching the “I have nothing to hide” attitude
Thé hears the quote, “I have nothing to hide” quite often. “If you have nothing to hide then why not give me your bank account information? Or passcode on your phone? Why not just let me read all your intimate conversations with your partner or family?” Thé adds, “You aren’t doing anything wrong when you’re taking a shower, but that doesn’t mean you want people looking.”
He puts it this way: it’s not so much that people have incriminating evidence lying around on their phones. It’s more that it feels like an invasion of your privacy and your life if people are peeking, he says. “You have things that are personal and private and you don’t want them to be out in the open. That’s why it’s called ‘My Private Life.’”
The same goes when using other devices, like smart TVs and smart speakers that eavesdrop on private conversations, often through false activations.
“You aren’t doing anything wrong when you’re taking a shower, but that doesn’t mean you want people looking.”
– Jessé David Thé, CEO and co-founder of Tauria
Placed in the wrong hands or used in the wrong purpose, that information could be downright dangerous, Thé says. “Imagine holding certain political views or having a certain sexual orientation in places that have very different views on those things than Canada or the U.S.,” he explains. “Now I have all of these things scanning my information. The risk to me becomes very severe.”
Tauria urges people to think twice before they share data or agree to terms of service that give unbridled access to your data. The question shouldn’t be, “Well, why not?” They want everyone to ask “Why?” instead.
“These are all really big concerns with privacy and security,” Thé says. “And so that’s one thing that we really want to push forward.”
Zero is the new hero
If you’ve never heard of zero-knowledge encryption, it is the method that, once a piece of information is encrypted, the encryption keys that are used to decrypt that info are not shared with anyone else other than the owners of that information. You control access. That makes it not only extra secure, but extra private when you’re sharing information among others, avoiding unwanted third parties accessing it.
We have a funny habit of trusting big companies because they’re just that: big companies. But that trust is misplaced, Thé says. “You have to be able to trust that not only will the company not do anything with your information, but all the employees there won’t, either.”
“You don’t really know who has – or will have – access to your information.”
– Jessé David Thé
Even if they’re doing everything right today, what measures are in place to make sure they won’t change things in the future? “You don’t really know who has – or will have – access to your information,” Thé says.
That’s where a zero-knowledge solution like Tauria wins, he explains. They never see those encryption keys, meaning they can’t peek into your messages, files or calendars even if they wanted to. And it future-proofs privacy as well, he adds, because future employees won’t be able to drop in on your data, either.
In other words: “We guaranteed that we could not do that.”
Signing off of email
Each day, about 306.4 billion emails arrive in the inboxes (or spam folders) of about 4.04 billion people worldwide. By 2023, that number’s set to grow to over 346.3 billion messages a day.
While still popular, “It’s a very slow method of communication. And also, it’s very hard to keep track when you have lots of communications going through email.”
But there are security concerns too, because email is, by its nature, so open. Anyone in the world can send you an email, and that email can contain anything, including malicious links and faked sender details.
“[Email is] the number one way all these companies get breached.”
– Jessé David Thé
“Because anyone can email you, it’s very easy for people to do phishing emails,” Thé explains. “There’s no really good way to make sure that the person you’re communicating with is actually the person that they say they are.”
And unless you’re using a specialized email service, your settings are just right or you have a third-party encryption tool, your emails are zooming around completely unsecured and unencrypted, he adds – meaning they’re a prime target for data breaches. Actually, “It’s the number one way all these companies get breached,” he says.
In the future, Thé would love to see people and businesses move to more secure methods of communicating – Tauria’s platform is one example of what that could look like. Because they assign separate encryption keys to every file, calendar entry and message, a breach in one doesn’t mean a breach across the board. “If an email is hacked, you don’t have to worry about all of your communications being thrown out online because those other communications are encrypted and secure.”
Pushing now for a brighter future
Moving to a secure platform like Tauria is an important step, but it’s not going to solve all of the problems out there, Thé says. That comes through education – another thing his company is enthusiastic about.
That’s why they’ll share information about safe browsers and online tools outside of their purview, he adds. “We’ll still want to share that information with people because we really want to push towards a future where people have the right to privacy, security, and they don’t have to be worried.”
And they want to lead the charge. “One thing that we like to say that we’re doing on Tauria is we’re setting a new standard for the cloud.”
Zebu is now Tauria! Tauria is creating a future where companies can communicate, send files and store important information, knowing their data will be secured and protected from internal and external cyber threats.