When, in 2013, Edward Snowden revealed how privacy on the Internet was besieged by big companies and nation/states it got me thinking how this affects us as individuals and as a society.
At that time I was studying IT-Security at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences and learned about the technology that made this surveillance possible and how it worked on a low level. Bruce Schneier and the community on his blog contributed a lot to understanding how all this worked on a technical level. I also learned about all the technology that you can use to protect yourself from that surveillance. It was then, that I realised, that all this protective technology is a really good step in the right direction, but most of it is too complex for average users to even use correctly.
During the next few years I thought about concepts and solutions that would enable everyone to enjoy privacy on the Internet. I even came up with a prototype, that I later deemed insufficient for the goal that I had set. All this effort resulted in what we now call Portmaster and Gate17.
Already before I graduated, I started working part time for an IT security focused group within the Austrian Institute of Technology. There, I got to learn the scientific community and even had the opportunity to focus on topics that would later help me with all this, to some extent. On the side, I continued to invest my remaining time into my vision of a private Internet.
From 2017 on, all these ideas transformed into a team and a small company with little funding. By early 2018 I also quit my job to focus on this full time. Now, at Safing, I am responsible for the development of the Portmaster and Gate17.