It’s often been said that we, as users, are “the product” of networks like Google or Facebook. But there is now a new wave of privacy centric start-ups seeking to give us back control of our personal data. One of these is Abine, the venture-backed Cambridge, Mass. based company which boasts a suite of products that protect our online privacy. Data protection is the “new frontier”, Abine’s CEO Bill Kerrigan, who describes his startup as “the online privacy company”, told me.
Indeed, re-empowering us with control of our own online data, Kerrigan insists, represents the next multi-billion dollar opportunity. And while he is hopeful that some of today’s major Internet players – such as Twitter, Mozilla and Microsoft – do respect our online information, Kerrigan – who used to run sales at McAfee – nonetheless warns that we are “one massive data breach away from Armageddon.” That’s scary for consumers, of course; but might actually be rather good news for entrepreneurs like Kerrigan who are betting that privacy really is the next Big Thing.