PrivacySafe Open-Source Network Access
Resilient, Secure Data Sharing and Software Delivery for Rural Communities
Pitch us on your solution
The international community continues to recognize the importance of community networks and access to knowledge (A2K) in the growth, sustainability, and security of nations. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data over existing rural infrastructure continues to be a challenge in Bangladesh, limiting opportunities for people in remote areas to connect to the Internet, build networked communities, and access vital software. This is especially true in times of crisis and prolonged disconnection from existing telephony and emergency services.
We will design and deploy a dedicated and robust network of data storage hubs based upon our in-development PrivacySafe products. This will include a combination of solar power, batteries, and wifi amplifiers alongside software designed to cope with frequent power loss.
Our IoT appliances are 100% Open-Source, the ideal A2K platform for developing nations. We safeguard data at-rest and in-transit, offering mesh networking and crucial software like GNU Health, Ushahidi, and Mozilla WebThings.
What is the problem you are solving?
PrivacySafe products are currently prototypes we are deploying in healthcare, legal, government, and non-profit community contexts. Even in high-tech nations, access to emergency information and data resilience during times of crisis continues to be elusive. Low-income and rural communities in Bangladesh and other developing nations suffer prolonged blackouts and destructive weather events, accelerated each year by Climate Change. The Asian Development Bank estimates that nearly 25% of Bangladesh lives below the poverty line, and both education and healthcare access is challenging as the country industrializes and population continues to grow.
Internet availability has grown substantially in Bangladesh during the past decade. However, significant challenges remain. Nationwide broadband is defined as 128/128 kbit/s, which is not internationally recognized as true broadband. Charges for high-speed connections are higher than in other South Asian nations, and mobile operators have just begun to implement 4G mobile service in much of the country.
Rural communities are the most difficult to reach. The World Bank estimates that only 40% of rural households in Bangladesh have access to grid electricity. This limits access to emergency services, knowledge, and healthcare. Ethnic conflicts and growing refugee communities such as the Rohingya further highlight the importance of infrastructure and information.
Who are you serving?
We are currently working with educators, lawyers, healthcare professionals, municipal government, and non-profit clients to develop solutions that may be deployed via our PrivacySafe software and hardware platform.
We have partnered with GNU Health to deliver their robust and extensive healthcare suite via our appliances, as the target hardware for the GNU Health Embedded project. We hope to deploy our solution widely within their professional network, replacing ad-hoc and insecure solutions. We will gain feedback from doctors, nurses, and clinicians, starting with pilot programs currently slated for clinics in Argentina.
We have been coordinating with Mozilla and their IoT team on the WebThings Gateway, which will be deployed via our devices. This browser-based interface allows users to communicate between PrivacySafe appliances and smart devices, mapping out their locations and operating them either from the local network or remotely. We hope to integrate an additional layer of security and privacy into this implementation, scanning for local Bluetooth beacons and potentially-malicious devices such as those controlled by botnets.
Though privacy and security underpin everything we do at PrivacySafe, we also recognize the value of our products for delivery of network-connected software. Community deployments are an important focus, starting with our home city of New Haven.
What is your solution?
Our PrivacySafe hardware is an Open-Source mini-computer designed to empower users by giving them control over their data. This platform is very flexible and configurable, and will be customized based upon the network deployment context. Developed by the founder of Yale Privacy Lab and advised by a team of experts in privacy and cybersecurity, PrivacySafe products feature Privacy By Design and security by default.
On top of this secure and privacy-respecting platform, we implement a variety of software. Our healthcare clients will benefit from our deployment of GNU Health and a FIHR-compatible API, cryptocurrency enthusiasts benefit from our Bitcoin and Monero payment processor, and maker communities benefit from OctoPrint and Mozilla WebThings.
For Bangladesh, our software choices will focus on crisis response, healthcare, and A2K and will accordingly feature software such as Ushahidi, GNU Health, and Offline Wikipedia. Our choices and development roadmap will of course be shaped by feedback, and we will also consider other software packages that are easy to deploy in a mesh-networking context such as Project Gutenberg, PeerTube, and Mastodon Social.
Our hardware base is the BeagleBoard.org BeagleBone AI, a new update to the BeagleBone Black that features a specialized artificial intelligence and deep learning chipset. Our PrivacySafe OS is based upon Debian GNU/Linux, and our data-syncing services are powered by the 3NWeb protocols, which implement the Principle of Least Authority.
We believe strongly in the values of Free and Open-Source Software
and Open Hardware and will release our code and designs only under such
licenses, and strong copyleft licenses wherever possible. For projects in the public interest, this licensing structure is paramount.
Select only the most relevant.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:New Haven, CT, USA
In which sector would you categorize your solution?
Our solution's stage of development:Prototype
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
PrivacySafe is a disruptive device due to its focus on at-rest encryption and zero-knowledge data transfer. We buck the trend of traditional cloud services by decentralizing data storage and "bringing your data home", where you as the end-user control the encryption keys. Software delivered via our devices in configurations such as mesh networking will be implemented specifically for the communities we're targeted, not shoehorning an existing SaaS solution into the environment we deploy in. Networks of multiple, small, resilient IoT devices sit on the frontier of Internet technology, and we can deploy a huge variety of software at relatively low-cost, scaling up and down appropriately for the target population.
Select the key characteristics of the population in Bangladesh your solution serves.
How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?
1. the current number of people you’re serving
We just launched four weeks ago and are currently serving approximately 100 people in pilot deployments.
2. the number you’ll be serving in one year
We will be serving tens of thousands in one year.
3. the number you’ll be serving in five years
We hope to serve at least a million people in five years.
If you selected “I am planning to expand my solution to Bangladesh,” please provide an overview of your expansion plans. What is the market opportunity for your business or product in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh has a growing population and a burgeoning market of broadband and mobile Internet users.
Select an option below:For-profit
How many people work on your solution team?
PrivacySafe is assembling a team of industry experts. We have 2 full-time staff, 4 part-time, and 3 contractors.
Sean O'Brien, Founder & CEO
Sean is a lecturer in cybersecurity at Yale Law School and leads Yale
Sri Ramkrishna, Community Liaison
Sri has been involved in Free Software for 20+ years as a community liaison
and developer advocate.
We're proud to have the wisdom of Nathan Freitas, Tiffany C. Li, Misha Guttentag, Scott J. Shapiro, Laurin Weissinger, Rebecca Wexler, and Douglas A. Levin as advisors for PrivacySafe.
For how many years have you been working on your solution?
With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?
- Sean O'Brien Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School, PrivacySafe