An easy-to-install hardware product can protect all devices in the home from surveillance that compromizes users security and identity.
Privacy and data protection have become a major concern for anyone using the Internet. We have previously seen solutions proposed, such as giving secure sites their own smell, hiding data with cryptography and low-cost biometrics. Incidents such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, has increased awareness for Internet privacy with many solutions requiring complicated software. This can be a barrier for most people. However, Winston, a Chicago startup, is now developing a solution they hope will be easy enough for everyone to use. The hardware device also called Winston, sits in the users’ home and connects users’ to a cable modem or wireless router. In doing so it will protect all users’ from being hacked or tracked.
Winston is named after Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Winston works on a decentralised platform built on Ethereum. The platform encrypts your internet connection to cloak users’ IP address and physical location from corporate and government surveillance, as well as from hackers. It can also increase users’ internet speed by blocking ads that follow them around the web. Winston can even prevent users’ own internet service provider from keeping tabs on them. It is also streaming friendly.
Winston’s founder, Rich Stokes, is a former adtech entrepreneur. Inspiration for the product came about when he saw first-hand how easy it is for companies to collect reams of information on anyone. He wanted to create a solution that was “strong enough for the NSA but simple enough for Mom.” Winston has raised 1 million USD in a seed round led by Chicago’s New Stack Ventures. The device is currently in production and will be available later in 2018.