Many of the technological advancements in computing are predicated on speed and ease of use. More, better, faster is often the mantra.
While security is far from ignored, the technology of speed seems to be developing at a much faster pace, leaving users more vulnerable to identity and information theft in its wake.
As society becomes more reliant on electronic storage and transfer of information we have seen rapid advancements in technology designed to store and transfer large amounts of data.
The Cloud is one such development that has gained favor. The advantages of being able to store data in one location off site has obvious advantages for companies with multiple locations and different moving parts. The elimination of server issues is a gift from above for many small operations (large ones too).
Many of these developments come with drawbacks. Some have size restrictions for file transfers. Speed is an issue for others. Security is an issue for all, and is front and center with the Snowden leaks bringing the issue of government surveillance into the public mind.
Speed, ease and security are three of the factors behind Paris-based Infinit’s development of peer-to-peer file sharing software that allows users to encrypt their data and share it, regardless of size, with anyone via a simple “drag and drop” method.
The ability to immediately play media upon acceptance, continued downloading even with internet disconnection, and the option to generate links to share via social media are three additional advantages.
Infinit team member Baptiste Fradin spent some time describing Infinit and discussing data management and privacy in the twenty-first century.
What motivated the creators of Infinit to develop it?
File transfer has been one of the first problems since the Internet came into existence. The FTP protocol was created 45 years ago. The concept was to upload a file on a server in order for the recipient to retrieved the file by downloading it on the other side.
Today, the server is called “Cloud” but nothing has changed. Dropbox, YouSendIt, WeTransfer, etc. work all this way. This is quite absurd especially when the sender and recipient are in the same room. Why upload a file into the cloud on the other part of the earth when the recipient is just next to you.
This problem hasn’t been solved and that’s why we’ve decided to provide a new solution by using a better and smarter technology. Our peer-to-peer technology allows transfers to be much faster (between two and 23 times faster) but, especially without any restrictions : files size, bandwidth, type of files, etc.
Moreover, we wanted to innovate on the interface as well in order to enable anyone to send anything really easily through a simple drag and drop. It could be photos, HD video or anything else.
What advantages are realized by cutting out the cloud?
From a user point of view, there are two main advantages. It’s much more faster than other cloud-based solutions. You can also send files of unlimited size
From our company point of view, we don’t have to support an expensive cost from the infrastructure like the competition. Our operational cost remains really low even when our users base and/or the activity increase a lot.
Information privacy has been a hot global topic for years. How much influence did the issues raised by the Snowden leaks and the NSA’s overall conduct play into your product development and marketing?
As you said, he has been a hot topic for years and it was one the main reason we wanted to create this company and provide solutions that respect user privacy. For now, we don’t really insist from a marketing point of view on that aspect because we think main users are more interested in using a solution which is nice and simple to use rather than only secure. This is also because we want to reach end users right now but our communication strategy will change as soon as we’ll start to reach businesses, which are more aware about this aspect.
Where is data privacy headed in the next five years? What issues can we expect to face and how do companies like Infinit stay ahead of them?
If the situation doesn’t change we’ll have more and more privacy problems because the way data are stored today is not adapted to ensure data privacy.
We’re providing decentralized access control with a private key only known by the user. We don’t even store it and data are directly encrypted locally. It means that even if data goes though a server it has been already encrypted before. We think we will stay ahead of privacy problems because we have a unique secure and decentralized peer-to-peer technology. We think today Bitcoin is a serious alternative in finance. We’ll be the same in our sector.
We can see regular security problems at Dropbox, LinkedIn, and eBay but also more global privacy issues as Snowden has revealed with the NSA. People don’t yet realize this situation and the impact that could have on their lives.
One day a hacker will succeed in gathering sensitive or private information about a company or a personality. The problem is not that people are sharing many things via social networks. The problem is that all this information is concentrated in only one place : The Cloud. This way, a hacker can access password, name or other sensitive information from all over the world from a one single place. This is a new problem which wasn’t there because now almost everyone is connected.
Solutions, such as Infinit, enable information to be decentralized, like Bitcoin for the money. It’s still possible for a hacker to enter into a machine but he’ll never be able to get as much data on as many people.
You said peer-to-peer technology implies there will always be a free version of the product. Can you elaborate on that?
We do not have any cost when using our peer-to-peer technology and we want to provide this advantage to our users. Later we’ll have other premium features but we want our users to benefit this technological innovation.