"Those who sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither." - Ben Franklin
Even before we started putting a single piece of code to the screen, personal privacty was important to us and this entire project. It's hard to go places and not be seen. There are surveylance cameras everywhere - on the streets, in stores, and at the entrances of most buildings. Over the years, we as global citizens, have incrementally given up our personal freedoms in an effort to be safe. The question is, do you feel safer?
Terrorism, abductions, kidnappings for ransome, natural disasters and emergencies, one thing after another has eroded our perception of how life should be versus how life is. And this is our new reality. Social media has continued to exasperate the problem, as billions of people globally now have the opportunity to "check in" and post their whereabouts online for everyone they know to see. And their friends, and their friends of friends, and the bad guys, and the government. Where does it stop? When will it stop? Probably never.
What we can do, and have set out to do since the beginning of our project was to put privacy controls in the hands of our users. We will not rent, sell, or give out personally identifiable information unless legally obligated to do so. People will not know where you are on an ongoing basis, unless you give them permission. As a company, we do not make assumptions on your behalf; the default settings are always set to "private" so your location is not broadcast. We believe in giving people the option, because that's what we would want.
A couple weeks ago, a wife of one of our collaborators got home from work early and she decided to go on a job. She didn't think to call or text her husband to let him know where she'd be, nor did she leave a note on the kitchen counter. She wanted to get a way for a few moments and unwind, simple as that. Twenty minutes later, and three miles from her home, she was laying in a culvert, 8 feet down an incline from the road because a car had ran her off the road. She was lucky; she hadn't hit her head and she was conscious. Her cell phone worked, but she couldn't gain solid footing, so she called her husband to come pick her up. Things could have been much different had she been unconscious and had her cell phone been thrown in a direction where she couldn't find it.
Luckily, it was just a sprained ankle. Had she used Virtual Halo, it would have alerted her husband when she wasn't back by the preset time that his wife had gone on a job, and from there, he could have started looking for her.
The premise for our technology is simple. We do not stream video or audio of events; we do not require you to constantly push and hold buttons. We let you live your life. Engage the app when you're doing an activity on your own and disengage it when you're secure. Get into trouble? Push the SOS button and help will be notified. Want more of an active presence in the case of emergencies? Subscribe to our monitoring service. We believe in security, but instead of securing tangible objects such as your house and things, secure what's priceless - you and your loved ones. After all, it's what freedom is about, living your life as you see fit, on your terms without being bound by restrictive measures.
For those of you interested in what Ben Franklin actually said, read this.