Portrait

Make your privacy great again

As we go about our business each day, we are observed and followed via our smartphones and computers. Data is tapped and used without our knowledge.

Conversations on the phone or in a chat can be followed, as can our credit cards with an extra app exploit. The start-up soomz, an acronym for “Stay out of my zoo” produces products to improve your own personal data security. We sat down with Rainer Brenner to talk about this innovative company and their idea that plays an important role as the world around us becomes more digitized.

Rainer Brenner, how did you come up with the idea for soomz?

The idea actually came with the first product, the camera cover for smartphones and computers. We worked very long on this and at the time, we had no idea what the future held for us. The core idea was to take a very complicated subject and solve it with an easy solution.

Why do we need a soomz camera cover and not just a normal post-it to do the job?

The quality of cameras in the newest smartphones are becoming better and better and a simple post-it over the lens would leave a glue residue behind. In addition, the playfulness factor of our product is also important. By having to physically manipulate the cover, your actions become more deliberate: Before you can shoot a Selfie, you must push open the camera to open the doors to your zoo. It makes the user a little bit more sensitive to the whole privacy topic.

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Aren’t you being overly dramatic?

The situation is not so extreme that every Swiss citizen is being spied on by the NSA. But, we feel that there is a substantial problem here and we have a solution ready for it. One can easily be a victim of unwanted supervision and it generally happens without you noticing it.

Have you had personal experience with this?

No, luckily I haven’t up to this point. I mean, I have a cover for my camera *laugh*.

How do you deal with technological changes, and with the possibility that smartphones might incorporate their own security in such a way that they need no more additional gadgets?

This would be great, of course! Our view is that technological changes can always somehow be improved. We won’t just offer these three existing products in the future –  we’ll most certainly find other, new problems that we can address with new products.

Social Media: How important is this to you?

We are on Twitter and on Facebook. It’s very important for us to have this communication exchange with our customers and to stay informed about which new trends are affecting the market.

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How will soomz develop itself this year?

In 2016, we brought our new RFID protective coverings into the market. We will heavily promote this product and attempt to improve our contacts with various companies. And we would like to enter other markets as well – we’ve established ourselves in German-speaking countries already. Plus, work on an exciting new product is also happening behind the scenes.

What kind of product is this?

I can’t say a word! *laugh*

 

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Snowden – a film about espionage

If you haven’t seen the film about Edward Snowden yet, you should. It tells the true story of a CIA/NSA employee who goes to Hong Kong in 2013 to transmit thousands of confidential documents to the press. The documents prove that the secret service has been conducting illegal surveillance of worldwide internet traffic. Snowden’s actions are a surveillance affair and an espionage affair that concerns the entire world.

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