Why the Internet’s Infrastructure Is About to Be Disrupted
And how that could create opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.
5 min read
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The internet was originally designed by U.S. military researchers to establish a communications channel in case of nuclear war. Sixty years later, the indexed web has spawned more than five billion pages, and American adults now spend 11 hours a day staring at screens, according to Nielsen.
The web intersects every area of modern life, but there are problems with the decades-old infrastructure, and it’s creating opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to architect an Internet 3.0. Here are some of the catalysts (hopeful and worrying) for change, along with how savvy companies have capitalized on them.
Discomfort With Human-Data Farming
In today’s 24/7 connected world, the internet is no longer just an information highway. Big tech uses it to farm human data, creating friction between commercial interests and individual privacy. Take Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, where the data of 50 million users was collected and used without consent. Facebook may be a free service, but people are uncomfortable being sold as human data products to advertisers.
Entrepreneurs are already creating solutions to protect privacy. Virtual Private Network (VPN) startups such as NordVPN, TunnelBear, TorGuard and Proton are considered among the elite at securing online privacy and safety. Each of these can be activated to anonymize a person’s identity, data and geo-location when using public Wi-Fi, which are easily compromised by hackers.
ProtonVPN integrates with Tor anonymity network. Swiss-based Proton has also built ProtonMail, which protects data under strict Swiss privacy laws. It’s perhaps the most secure email platform for civilians. The firm provides end-to-end encryption of all communications and anonymizes email by not keeping internet protocol (IP) logs.
So how prudent are VPN tools? Consider that internet service providers can actually sell your browsing history, and the wealth of data found therein that can be used to advertise products, but also to steal sensitive info. Google is reportedly developing a privacy-focused dashboard on its Chrome browser that allows users to reject tracking cookies. That seems way