Internet Security

Passbase is building a full stack identity engine with privacy baked in

Digital identity startup Passbase has bagged $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by a group of business angel investors from Alphabet, Stanford, Kleiner Perkins and EY, as well as seed fund investment from Chicago-based Upheaval Investments and Seedcamp. The 2018-founded Silicon Valley-based startup — whose co-founder we chatted to briefly on camera at Disrupt Berlin —…


Digital identity startup Passbase has bagged $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by a group of business angel investors from Alphabet, Stanford, Kleiner Perkins and EY, as well as seed fund investment from Chicago-based Upheaval Investments and Seedcamp.

The 2018-founded Silicon Valley-based startup — whose co-founder we chatted to briefly on camera at Disrupt Berlin — is building what it dubs an “identity engine” to simplify identity verification online.

Passbaseoffers a set of SDKs to developers to integrate into their service facial recognition, liveness detection, ID authenticity checks and ID information extraction, while also baking in privacy protections that allow individual users to control their own identity data.

A demo video of the verification product shows a user being asked to record a FaceID-style 3D selfie by tilting their face in front of a webcam and then scanning an ID document, also by holding it up to the camera.

On the developer front, the flagship claim is Passbase’s identity verification product can be deployed to a website or mobile app in less than three minutes, with just seven lines of code.

Co-founderMathias Klenktells TechCrunch the system architecture draws on ideas from public-private key encryption, blockchain and biometric authentication — and is capable of completing “zero-knowledge authentications.”

In practice, that means a website visitor or app user can prove who they are (or how old they are) without having to share their full identity document with the service.

Klenk, a Stanford alum, says the founding teampivoted to digital identity in the middle of last year after their earlier startup — a crypto exchange management app called Coinance — ran into regulatory difficulties right after they’d decided to go full-time on the project.

He says they got a call from Apple, in August 2018, informing them Coinance had been pulled from the AppStore. The issue was they needed to be able to comply with know your customer (KYC) requirements as regulators cracked down on the risk of cryptocurrency being used for money l

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Internet Security

Twitter launches a Privacy Center to centralize its data protection efforts

Twitter today is launching a new resource that aims to serve as the central place for everything related to the company’s efforts around privacy and data protection. The new site, the Twitter Privacy Center, will host information about Twitter’s initiatives, announcements and new privacy products, as well as other communication about security incidents. The company…


Twittertoday is launching a new resource that aims to serve as the central place for everything related to the company’s efforts around privacy and data protection. The new site, the Twitter Privacy Center, will host information about Twitter’s initiatives, announcements and new privacy products, as well as other communication about security incidents.

The company says it wanted to create a centralized resource so it would be easier to find all the information about Twitter’s work in this area. However, the impacts of Europe’s data protection regulation, GDPR, likely also spurred Twitter’s efforts on this front, along with other data laws.

For its own purposes, Twitter now needs to have a more organized approach to consumer data privacy. As a result, it makes sense to put Twitter’s work and announcements onto a consumer-facing site that’s easy to navigate and use.

The new Twitter Privacy Center splits informat

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Internet Security

Detectify raises additional €21M for its ethical hacker network

Detectify, the Sweden-born cybersecurity startup that offers a website vulnerability scanner powered by the crowd, has raised €21 million in further funding. Leading the round is London-based VC firm Balderton Capital, with participation from existing investors Paua Ventures, Inventure and Insight Partners. Detectify says the new funding will be used to continue to hire “world-class”…


Detectify, the Sweden-born cybersecurity startup that offers a website vulnerability scanner powered by the crowd, has raised €21 million in further funding.

Leading the round is London-based VC firm Balderton Capital, with participation from existing investors Paua Ventures, Inventure and Insight Partners.

Detectifysays the new funding will be used to continue to hire “world-class” talent to further accelerate the company’s growth and deliver on its mission to reduce internet security vulnerabilities.

Founded in late 2013 by a self-described group of “elite hackers” from Sweden, the company offers a website security tool that uses automation to scan websites for vulnerabilities to help cu

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Internet Security

Bored of the coins

Something strange is afoot in the world of cryptocurrencies. For the first time since Satoshi dropped Bitcoin on us like a benevolent bomb, this painfully new, highly bizarre field has become … well … boring. The true believers will tell you that great strides are being made, and the mainstream breakthrough is just around the…


Something strange is afoot in the world of cryptocurrencies. For the first time since Satoshi dropped Bitcoin on us like a benevolent bomb, this painfully new, highly bizarre field has become … well … boring. The true believers will tell you that great strides are being made, and the mainstream breakthrough is just around the corner, but they’ve been saying that for long enough that it’s beginning to seem reasonable to start wondering if these wolves were ever real.

I know, I know, it seems especially weird to be saying this at the same time that the President of China and CEO of Facebook have both become blockchain advocates. But China’s cryptocurrency, if it happens, will be a panopticoin, a tool to centralize monetary control even more firmly in the hands of the Communist Party, nothing like the decentralized censorship-resistant programmable money that the crypto community is theoretically all about; and Facebook’s, while making technical progress, keeps losing partners and gaining enemies.

The crypto community is currently all agog about “DeFi,” for decentralized finance, a movement which basically expands cryptocurrencies from “censorship-resistant money” to “censorship-resistant financial instruments,” such as collateralized loans and interest-bearing investments, along with “staking” (not really DeFi, but often treated as it.) Inside the c

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Internet Security

TikTok’s new set of safety videos teach users about features, the app’s focus on ‘positivity’

TikTok today released a new set of safety videos designed to playfully inform users about the app’s privacy controls and other features — like how to filter comments or report inappropriate behavior, among other things. One video also addresses TikTok’s goal of creating a “positive” social media environment, where creativity is celebrated and harassment is…


TikToktoday released a new set of safety videos designed to playfully inform users about the app’s privacy controls and other features — like how to filter comments or report inappropriate behavior, among other things. One video also addresses TikTok’s goal of creating a “positive” social media environment, where creativity is celebrated and harassment is banned.

This particular value — that TikTok is for “fun” — is cited whenever the Beijing-based company is pressured about the app’s censorship activity. Today, TikTok hides under claims that it’s all about being a place for lighthearted, positive behavior. But in reality, it had been censoring topics China doesn’t want its citizens to know about — like the Hong Kong protests, for example. Meanwhile, it doesn’t appear to take action on political issues in the U.S., where hashtags like #dumptrump or #maga have millions of views.

To figure out its approach to moderation, TikTok recently hired corporate law firm K&L Gates to advise it on how to create policies that won’t have it coming under the eye of U.S. regulators.

In the meantime, TikTok is tackling the job of crafting the sort of community it wants through these instructive videos. But it’s not just issuing its commands from the top-down — TikTok partners with its own creators to participate in the videos and then promote them to fans. The first set of videos, released in February, featured a dozen TikTok creators, for example.

This time around, the company has pulled in a doze

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