Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital firm signs licensing agreement to address problems of information security
February 14, 2001
SafeWeb, a leading Internet privacy technology company, announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with In-Q-Tel, a private, non-profit corporation funded by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Under this agreement, SafeWeb will utilize its PrivacyMatrix technology to create an Internet privacy and security product to protect confidential communications transmitted over the Web. The agreement was entered into on November 30, 2000.
“The CIA must be at the cutting edge of information technology in order to maintain its competitive edge and provide its people with intelligence that is both timely and relevant,” said Gilman Louie, In-Q-Tel’s president and CEO. “SafeWeb’s technology is an innovative approach to address problems of information security.”
SafeWeb’s patent-pending technology, dubbed PrivacyMatrix, utilizes 128-bit SSL encryption technology to protect users against intrusions into their online activities and communications. This technology will enable secure transmission and receipt of material over the Internet. It will also allow users to browse the Web anonymously, and stymie hackers and others who attempt to break into corporate networks.
PrivacyMatrix is the only existing technology commercially available that meets In-Q-Tel’s security standards. “We realize that many privacy service providers now offer encryption-based privacy solutions,” said Jon Chun, co-founder and president of SafeWeb. “We are excited that we have been selected to develop privacy technology for In-Q-Tel, especially since it has the most stringent privacy requirements of any Internet user.”
Pure Licensing Agreement
According to the agreement, SafeWeb will develop privacy and security technology to In-Q-Tel specifications and will deliver it in two phases. The agreement between SafeWeb and In-Q-Tel is an arms-length, pure licensing agreement, involving no technology or IP transfer. In-Q-Tel will not have any board representation, management representation, or equity stake in SafeWeb. However, SafeWeb has issued warrants to In-Q-Tel, which In-Q-Tel may exercise and convert into equity in the future.
SafeWeb’s core product will remain separate from any future government use of the SafeWeb technology. SafeWeb’s core product is a technology that enables Internet users to surf the Web anonymously and protect themselves against intrusions into their online activities and communications. SafeWeb acts as an intermediary, encrypting all data transmitted between an individual’s computer and the Web sites visited. Anyone with Internet access can use the free service by going to the SafeWeb home page at www.safeweb.com.
SafeWeb believes that this agreement in no way sacrifices its universal mission to protect the online privacy rights of everyone. “In the end, we realized that we are not choosing between the government and individuals,” said Stephen Hsu, co-founder and CEO of SafeWeb. “By arming the CIA with a powerful tool that will protect it against security risks and intrusions, we believe that everyone benefits since use of this technology has the potential to protect human lives. This is the ultimate validation of our technology.”
Based in Oakland, California, SafeWeb launched its business and its core technology in October 2000 in order to provide consumers and businesses with a comprehensive online privacy solution that is free, effective, and easy to use. SafeWeb is dedicated to protecting the online privacy rights of all Internet users. Its mission is to eliminate the abuse of Internet privacy that is rampant in the United States and throughout the world. For more information on SafeWeb, please visit the company’s press room at www.safeweb.com.