The “Faustian Pact” that users of online services are often forced to agree to “without fully comprehending the implications of doing so” has inspired a London based entrepreneur to create Pimloc, a tech start-up that is “developing a suite of image and video management solutions for business and private users who want their private images to stay private”.
Simon Randall, whose website bio reveals he has “headed up a number of global technology and design businesses across London, Sydney and Istanbul”, developing and launching a range of connected devices and services for consumer markets, wants to make “storing and archiving images on global online services, where data can be mined, hacked, and shared” a safer and more secure process.
Pointing to the recent “spate of high profile image hacks”, Randall says that “global awareness of data privacy and its implications is improving”, but that online behaviour is not changing fast enough due to a lack of viable alternatives to storing large amounts of data online in “the cloud”.
Pimloc works by learning about and logging images stored within the security of a users’ archive meaning there is no requirement to share that data with a third-party storage provider.
The more a user interacts with the platform, the more Pimloc’s deep learning networks, powered by machine learning and AI, “improves and evolves searches to give connected, contextual and individualised results”, making the search for images “more human, more secure, with endless potential applications”, Pimloc say.
The start-ups first product release, announced today, provides services for both the connected home and businesses, with a public beta programme slated for release in the new year.
Pimloc was founded just 6 months ago yet the company says it has already raised a seed funding round, backed by staff members and UK business angels. Randall says that “the founding team includes some of the world’s foremost thinkers in deep learning visual technology and computer vision application development across a range of fields.”
These include Dr Julian Morris, Chairman, who holds a DPhil in Engineering Science from Oxford University, who helped float the company Oxford Metrics on the London Stock Market after serving as MD of the vision technology specialist for 20 years, and Professor Andrew Zisserman, who sits on Pimloc’s technology board, and who set up the Oxford Visual Geometry Group.
Randall says that image based data is more vulnerable to exploitation by third parties because of “the richness and depth of information which imagery provides…which can be easily mined for commercial gain.”
“We’re aiming to put the power of vision-based machine learning into the hands of the people”, he concludes.
There seems little doubt that after the explosion of technology and online related services that have given rise to new ways of working and the “sharing” and “gig” economies, private persons and businesses are becoming increasingly wary of how their data may be used in ways that are not immediately detectable or obvious, but which can cause lasting damage by eroding privacy and turning the internet into something of a Wild West, where double-dealing, combined with a lack of sophisticated policing are creating a climate of fear.
FOMO Is The Ultimate Driver Of Millennial Risk-Reward Culture?
And yet, in the modern world, to live “off grid” is to risk missing out on all the advantages that digital services can provide, and if millennials hate one thing more than anything else, researchers and influencers would have us believe, it is missing out.
It seems likely therefore, that services such as Pimloc stand to gain. As Randall puts it, “the overwhelming level of interest we’ve seen in our new venture reflects a global shift in attitudes towards personal data privacy.”
One thing seems certain in the current political and economic climate – we don’t trust the free exchange of data and services online the way we once thought we might. Trust and faith are so 2015, but perhaps there is another way forward.