October 17, 2018 5 min read
We the people have a right to live life on our own terms. To know where our data is stored, and to have control over it at all times. To protect our families from unwanted intrusion and invasive surveillance. To be secure on our phones and computers wherever we are. To not have any aspect of our lives or our family’s lives scraped for information that can be sold to the highest bidder. To keep all our information under one roof, where it’s safest — with us.
We are no longer satisfied allowing our data to live on a stranger’s computer. We’re fed up. Enough is enough. We are reclaiming our right. We’re taking control of our online lives.
And it starts with Helm.
Helm is a secure personal server that makes it incredibly easy to own your online identity — starting with email. In 3 minutes, you can set up Helm in your home with a custom domain and have email, calendars and contacts services that work with all of your devices and is accessible from anywhere in the world. Helm ships with 128GB of solid state storage and can easily expand to an additional 5TB. Helm has been carefully designed to be secure and private from the silicon up, something we have been hard at work on for the past 3 years.
I’m Giri Sreenivas, co-founder and CEO of Helm. I, along with my co-founder and CTO, Dirk Sigurdson, created Helm out of our core belief that everyone should have the right to own their online lives.
In 2015, the two of us took a look at the state of the internet. A handful of companies controlled (and still control) most of the internet and they grew by giving away free services in order to learn, and then leverage, information about their users. Ad re-targeting was on the rise, which meant (and still means) ads based on our online activities were following us everywhere we
went. Revelations from Edward Snowden in 2013 about the way the NSA was using Americans’ data angered us and helped raise broader awareness about this problem. Whatever peace of mind we had going online has been lost.
The Internet we were using in the early 90s looked very different than what our families are using today. We believed control needed to be returned to the people, so we asked ourselves: What can we do about it?
We realized that we as humans have a primal connection to the physical place where our stuff lives. Think about your house. Right now, there are all sorts of safeguards to protect your home like doors, locks, windows and curtains because at a fundamental level, we want privacy and security in the place that we live. We want to protect what’s inside of our homes, not just our belongings, but our lives and the lives of our families.
We started thinking about a physical device that would give people ultimate control of their data, right under their own roof. Right now, nearly all of the data that comprises your online life is stored in a massive data center.
You don’t own it. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it — and you don’t know who can. That dream of a device that would make data “ownable” to the individual — not a stranger — is what led to Helm.
The reality is we can’t withdraw from the Internet. It’s become a vital part of social participation and an essential part of all of our lives today. It also presents an opportunity to radically improve our lives all around the world. For the Internet to have a healthy future, we all require the peace of mind and confidence that comes from having privacy and security over our online lives.
Over the past few years, Helm has gone from concept to prototype to product — a personal server that lives where you do and gives you control over your online life. It’s something you can physically see, touch, and turn on and off — and it’s something only you can access.
We have designed Helm so that we as a company know as little about you as possible — just what it takes to fulfill an online order and provide customer support. That means no more re-targeting, no more insecure information, no more fear of being caught up in mass surveillance, no more being used to sell whatever.
Dirk and I have been colleagues for a long time and this is our third company together. We first met at T-Mobile as leaders of the software development team responsible for bringing the first Android products to market. We went on to start Mobilisafe, where we were the leaders in mobile trust and in 2012, we sold Mobilisafe to Rapid7. I served as a General Manager and Dirk was Director of Engineering until 2016, including helping take the company public in 2015. Throughout these experiences, we’ve learned firsthand about the challenges in privacy and security and how to create smart, secure products that put the power back where it belongs — in the hands of people.
For us, that comes down to one thing: only making promises we can keep. We have a vision of Helm being a large independent player on the technology landscape; one that uses trusted open-source solutions (and gives back to opensource projects) and is driven by our customers — not advertisers — who vote with their dollars.
With Helm, you can be safe, secure, and in control, knowing your data is right where it should be: with you, so you can live online on your own terms. It all starts with email, and over the coming months and years, our team will be working on a number of additional services, each bringing you one step closer to total autonomy online.
We created Helm so that each of us could be the owners of our online identities. And it starts right now. The Helm Personal Server is available for purchase today.
Take back ownership of what’s rightfully yours and live a free life online with Helm.
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