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Hamburg start-up enhances data security on the Internet

Data protection and online privacy are major issues for most Germans that need to be solved by politics.

The topic enjoys the same high relevance as the current financial crisis. These are two results of a study conducted by the Hamburg-based German Institue for Trust and Safety in the Internet (Deutsches Institut für Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet/ DIVSI).

58 per cent of the total of 2,000 respondents named data protection the most important issue to tackle. Equally high was the call for a solution of the financial crisis. Both topics thus dominated the ranking ahead of environmental protection (52 per cent), the energy turn-around (43 per cent), the euro stability (39 per cent) and an improved integration policy (26 per cent). To guarantee data-safe working on the Internet was also the vision of the founders of the Hamburg start-up Protonet. After four years of research and development, Ali Jelveh and Christopher Blum recently presented their eavesdrop secure computer server for private and corporate users.

Located within a bright orange cube hardly larger than a shoe box, users are now able to safely access their data and to encrypt their mail before sending it. To achieve this, Protonet‘s server box sets up two Wifi networks by its two antennas, a protected internal and a public external net for guests. Using both virtual clouds, users are able to chat, exchange date, manage to-do-lists or update appointments without a third party spying on them or their data.

Funds for the pilot projects were initially collected by the crowd funding platform SeedMatch. With 200,000 euro to start, the founders assembled a miniature prototype in their workshop at Hamburg-Altona. In the second round of financing, further 900,000 euro of capital were provided for the start-up by young entrepreneur Tarek Müller, the Hamburg-based advertising agency Kolle Rebbe and the Hamburg Innovation Foundation. No one, however, would have anticipated the kick the start-up would get by current affairs: the disclosure of data espionage by the US and other states let phone ring around the clock in Protonet‘s Hamburg office.

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