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|Amber Brooks • 5/13/16|
The Short Version: Abine, an acronym for “A Bit Is Not Enough,” uses their two protective services, DeleteMe and Blur, to offer you complete control over what personal information you give out and how you appear in search results. By masking phone numbers, emails, and credit cards, and even deleting unwanted profiles, Abine has a comprehensive plan of attack against companies and databases that use your information for their own ends. Anyone using online dating and worried about their privacy can use Abine’s tools to limit public access to personal details.
Sitting by ourselves in the comforting glow of a laptop screen, it’s easy to mistake the Internet as a private, safe, and free space. It’s just us and the webpage, one-on-one, so what’s the harm in filling out a few forms here or there? We sign up for a site and automatically put in whatever information it asks for, thus handing the company control over our identities.
The Internet comes with a price, and that price is information.
Oftentimes we give out our name, age, address, or phone number because we have to. Because if we didn’t, the site wouldn’t let us make a profile or purchase. Online dating, in particular, demands a certain amount of disclosure. Not everyone’s pleased about that.
Just because you want to create an online dating profile, that doesn’t mean you want all your personal details on the web for anyone to see, sell, or use.
“The Internet wants more and more of everybody’s information,” said Rob Shavell, CEO and Co-Founder of Abine. “Whether you’re filling out an online dating profile, applying online for another credit card, or you’re ordering flowers for someone’s birthday, you’re constantly putting in information.”
In a cramped office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, three men decided enough was enough. The need for privacy online was simply not being met, leaving users exposed and vulnerable.
Abine was created to stop and reverse the flow of information into the public domain by masking and deleting a user’s online presence. Rob explains, “We built this set of services to allow you to create information and then control it in a way that was not so easy to do before.”
In 2008, Rob Shavell, Eugene Kuznetsov, and Andrew Sudbury saw privacy being slowly whittled away by the Internet. Facebook, mobile phones, and dating online were on the rise, but at the cost of personal information.
“If we don’t create ways to control that information, then it can be used for whatever purposes the company wants,” Rob said, adding, “Nobody reads these terms of services or privacy policies.”
These three men wanted to give you control over your own information in an all-in-one service. The company was named Abine, which stands for “A Bit Is Not Enough,” meaning a bit of protection or privacy is not enough. People spend a lot of time on the web and need to be fully covered. Abine offers a complete package of masking, managing, and even deleting information you don’t want to get around.
Companies don’t have the right to demand all your personal details. You don’t always know where that information can end up, if the company will share it, or who will see your personal details. In real life, people have the option to selectively share information. Maybe you choose to tell your age to a friend but not your co-worker, for example. Abine lets you make choices like that online.
“We wanted to try to bring some of that subtlety to the online world, instead of every time you’re asked for some information in a forum having to disclose either all of it or none of it,” Rob said.
Two main tools, DeleteMe and Blur, offer privacy to anyone active on the web (which is pretty much everyone). An alternative to installing different kinds of software from multiple places, this company makes secure information accessible in one place.
Abine was created to address a problem in the area of privacy, but the company isn’t all work and no play.
Having met at a fraternity at MIT, Eugene and Andy now serve as the technical brains of the operation. Their co-founder Rob explains, “They’re both really smart technical guys in the sense that they know how to write software.” He chuckles and adds, “They’re also fun guys to work for, for the most part.”
Unified by a commitment to privacy, this company is made of up movers and shakers who want to solve problems for consumers.
“We’re pretty particular about who we hire,” Rob said. “We hire a lot of people who care about these kinds of issues.”
Abine’s intelligent, results-oriented team enjoys a friendly workplace environment with a classic start-up culture.
The co-founders cultivate a workplace where dogs are welcome and much fun is had by all. A little light-heartedness doesn’t interfere with the team’s overall productivity or dedication.
Rob describes a group of interesting, passionate, and driven people who come together in the name of privacy. From an Online Privacy Blog to premium subscription plans, Abine has everything you need to stay private, even on a public forum.
This privacy company boasts an active user base, with about half of its few million users making use of the services every single day.
Privacy is a dilemma encountered daily online, and sometimes in ways that people don’t even notice. “Supposing you’ve been giving out your info when shopping,” Rob said, “all of that information can be resold and sometimes scraped by automated robots on the web.”
Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or a Babyboomer who really just knows how to work email, Abine’s services can mask your identity and preserve your privacy online. DeleteMe and Blur are non-intrusive and easy-to-use tools that make public spaces more secure for your use.
“Whenever you post publicly to Facebook or a dating site,” Rob tells us, “all that info can wind up in these big databases which put together profiles of all of us: where we live, how old we are, who our relatives are, what our contact information might be.”
For those signed up with DeleteMe, an expert team will take action to rid the web of any unwanted disclosures. Combing through large databases, Abine sends a request to remove the records of their customer wherever it appears. A customer report outlines what information was listed where and when to expect its removal.
Just to be extra safe, Abine will check back every three months to ensure that the information has truly been deleted, permanently. This process is time-intensive for the team, but fosters the privacy of every customer.
“That’s a service that’s obviously designed to lower your profile,” Rob said. “DeleteMe is one way to handle it if you’re worried that there’s too much information out there about you.”
With DeleteMe, you can decide what comes up in searches on you. Putting control back in your hands, Abine makes sure that anything public about you is only out there if you want it to be.
Operating unobtrusively in the background of all your web surfing, Blur masks your presence online so that no information can be collected on you without your knowledge or consent.
“If [Blur] sees cookies trying to follow you around the internet, it will try to stop those sites from ever getting your information,” Rob said.
Blur also generates new information to give the user power over who can view their email, phone number, or credit card number. With Masked numbers, Blur gives you the option to share or not share your information — and you can turn this function on and off.
This is ideal for anyone dating online, because it’s reasonable to change your mind about how accessible you wish to be at any given time. Maybe after a bad date, you want your profile to lie low for a while. Blur gives you that choice.
Built-in control and convenience is fundamental to the concept behind Abine. Masked phone numbers, emails, and credit cards grant users the right to choose what information they expose — and to whom.
“You can keep those lines of communications open between you and another business or another individual until you decide ‘This isn’t working for me anymore,’” Rob said. Then, with a click, you can mask yourself and block the unwanted party.
Encompassing three different tools, Blur simplifies online privacy. This service allows you to create a dozen different accounts, all with different emails, phone numbers, and credit cards associated with them. For added convenience, Blur will help you keep your passwords straight for all these accounts and more. When signing up, logging in, or just plain browsing online, Blur has your back.
Constantly innovating to make privacy more widespread and online activities more secure, Abine is a leader in the privacy industry. New features are being designed all the time for Blur and DeleteMe.
Rob tells us that their team is currently looking to tackle privacy on mobile devices. Their vision is to use a biometric slider to take your thumbprint as a way of verifying your identity and authenticating online purchases.
Abine never stops looking out for the privacy of everyday people. With this team’s help, you don’t have to give out your information to companies or people you don’t trust. Keeping your informational trail to a minimum, this company ensures that you aren’t easily tracked online.
This means ads can’t follow you, stalkers can’t contact you, and no one knows more about you than you want them to know. So sit back and create your profile with confidence online — Abine will be there behind the scenes, keeping your information private.