DG: Our next guest here in Berlin at IFA is giving consumers an easy way to get this: Stay anonymous while surfing the web and you realize perhaps in the next few minutes how important that is if you don’t know already. The CEO of eBlocker is Christian Bennefeld, right?
CB: That’s correct.
DG: Hi Christian, how are you, sir?
CB: I’m excellent, thank you for having me at the show.
DG: It’s a pleasure. Glad to have you with us because you can help us literally switch on privacy.
DG: And first of all tell me about the company and then let’s get in to the eBlocker itself.
CB: Right, yea well actually the company we are, it’s a startup still so we are 14 people- permanent employees and we’ve invented a device that keeps you anonymous online, as you mentioned already. So it’s a plug & play solution, you simply plug it in to your router, it needs no software to install and all your devices are protected at once. So no matter which device you use; Macintosh, PC a tablet, your smartTV, maybe your fridge in future to access the internet, they’re all protected at once. What’s happening: you probably notice that you get followed by ads nowadays so you’re looking at some orange sport shoes and they’re following you from site to site. Actually what you see is just the tip of an iceberg. What’s underline is the personality profile that has been built over all the websites you have been visiting, over all the devices you have been using accessing the internet. And most of this info is personally identifiable and that’s what we prevent with the eBlocker. So you simply plug it in and you’re anonymous. All these trackers get blocked off, all those ads that are actually collecting data about you even if you don’t click on those ads; they’re blocked off as well. And we can hide your IP address and keep you anonymous online and even fighting censorship for example. That makes it all happen with just plugging in this smart device.
DG: And it really is that easy. I mean look at the device here – if you listening on the radio have no fear, visit us at intotomorrow.com and you’ll see the video interview with Christian and the product. It’s a little cube and all you have is power and a LAN cable and you’re good to go – now you’re in. So we plug it into the router and apparently anything in our network WiFi or hardwired is now protected in the sense of being totally anonymous.
CB: Absolutely, that’s correct.
DG: And quit simply it’s because it boils down to: It’s nobody’s business! I may have nothing to hide – in fact I don’t, but it’s nobody’s business that I don’t need to be served up hats constantly because for a friend I looked up a product, right?
CB: Exactly. Well it’s not about only you know being followed by ads but nowadays this data is also being used for risk scoring for example. So if you’re applying for a loan at your bank and your bank gets a hold of your surfing profile and they find out you may gamble online or you’re betting on horses or whatever and that can ruin your risk scoring and maybe decrease your chances for a loan or they give you higher rates. Same is true for insurances for example, so if you forgot to mention you’re a skydiver or a climber and you feel like that’s not cool to let the insurance company know, use the eBlocker just plug it in and you’re all good. You’re not leaving any traces online anymore.
DG: Because there are inherit dangers certainly, it seems to me with personality profiling and as some great examples that you’ve just mentioned because I’m wondering and I’m hearing listeners in my head say “Well I don’t have anything to hide either what’s the big deal”, well you’ve showed some very good examples and there are hundreds of good examples.
CB: Yea, I can mention one more which is affecting consumers very much nowadays, specifically in the US which is called Dynamic Pricing. I don’t know whether you’re aware of Dynamic Pricing. Dynamic Pricing takes place at lots of shops nowadays, for example we show an example here with expedia. So if you’re booking a hotel at expedia depending on the device you’re using whether you’re using a PC or you’re using a tablet, you get different prices for the very same hotel, for the very same room and you get a discount sometimes on a tablet, sometimes it’s more expensive on a tablet, sometimes it’s cheaper on tablet. And with eBlocker you can simply switch virtually your device pretending you are using an iPad even if you’re using a PC and see how the prices are dropping or increasing.
DG: Wow. And it’s apparently very easy to then switch that kind of profile, if we want to?
CB: Absolutely, yea. Just with a click on a button.
DG: Oh my god. What made you come up with this solution? I know that you’re also – I’m told – the founder of etracker which is a major tracking and profiling service here in Europe. So I’m guessing that because you knew from the other side of the coin basically how to track people, you then now as the CEO of eBlocker says “Well I know how to do it, so now I know how to undo it”.
CB: Well the issue is, you know I’m a surfer myself and I feel when you come from the data industry as I do from etracker I had lots of tools installed on my PC to protect me from getting profiled. And in 2010 I bought my first iPad sat down on my sofa and felt like “oh my, I cannot install any software on my iPad that protects me as much as I want my protection.” That brought me to the idea of inventing eBlocker, a device that is as simple as plugging it in and protecting all the devices not depending on certain software. Of course there are software solutions out there today that protect you as much as eBlocker does but not in essence for all your devices and not plug & play.
DG: And not for the whole network.
CB: Exactly. It can also incurcimvant censorship. For example here in Germany, we cannot access the NFL like live on screen but using eBlocker I can ask eBlocker to give me an IP address from the United States to pretend I’m based of the United States and then-
DG: And then you can watch the NFL online.
CB: You got it. And not only online I can watch it on my smartTV without installing any software so I can simply click it on my smartTV and watch NFL pretending I’m in the states.
DG: Good for you!
CB: And that’s not only true for the states but also for, let’s say, more repressive country’s like turkey or china where the censorships are…
DG: Everytime we travel to china we have to use, you know, a virtual IP and so forth to be able to connect back home or just to connect to social media if you carry this with you? Same thing? Just plug it in and you’re good to go?
CB: And the good thing is, you don’t need to carry it anymore since we’re coming up with what we call eBlocker mobile. That’s a piece of software you need to install on your mobile device on android on iOS on a PC or on a Macintosh and it connects you to your eBlocker at home using an encrypted tunnel. So it looked really serving while your eBlocker at home having the same privacy preferences you’ve set back home while being abroad.
DG: Awesome. Is it available now?
CB: Absolutely. Yea it’s available at series production September last year.
CB: And yea we’re getting right feedback and we are also providing family protection. So if you have kids in your home and you want to protect them from let’s say from unwanted content, yes you can with eBlocker on all devices the kids are using.
DG: And how much is it in US dollars?
CB: In US dollars its 219 for the eBlocker Pro version, that’s the full privacy protection and 249 for the eBlocker family protection that gives you the full protection for the whole family for all the devices and all the family members.
DG: Ah, love it! It’s worth it at half the price even because there’s so many things that people won’t have to learn about you won’t get to learn about you, as well as the other examples that you shared. eBlocker.com – very good website to get right there. E-B-L-O-C-K-E-R-.com. we’ll get you there when you visit us at intotomorrow.com. Christian, thanks for spending a few minutes with us. Continued good luck here at IFA you got a cool product that’s gonna eliminate headaches for a lot of people.
CB: Thank you very much for having me here. Thank you.
DG: It’s our pleasure. Intotomorrow.com, not only the video of the radio interview and all of our guests here – but make sure to check out our highlight video as well and you can do it as I mentioned at intotomorrow.com. Back with more from berlin Germany, I’m Dave Graveline on the invent media network.
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