Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Why Build on the Personal Platform?

Guest Blogger: Alex Levin

Alex Levin is the Director of Apps & Strategy at Personal. He is currently helping developers take advantage of the newly launched Personal Platform, and promoting the $5K developer challenge Personal is hosting on CloudSpokes to thank the developers building on Personal in October.


I want to first thank CloudSpokes for inviting me to write a guest blog to talk about the launch of the Personal Platform. I considered writing about some of the many developers (over 175 already) building apps on the Personal Platform, but I will let their apps speak for themselves when they launch. I want to instead take this opportunity to give a little background about why we think the Personal Platform is going to be transformative.


The Genesis of Personal
In 2009 five friends were afraid to put their sensitive information online; social security documents, the passwords to their bank accounts, records of a recent health scare, photos they wanted no one to see all stayed offline. These friends did not want to be subjected to consistent misuses of user data, password leaks, data breaches, "anonymous" online tracking, and overt spying just to have access to cloud storage, social sharing and the latest cool app. So Shane, Edin, Doug, Tarik and Jen founded Personal to build themselves and their families a legitimate option for privately and securely managing all the most information in their lives online.

Fast forward to today. The Personal Platform and our easy-to-implement REST API are live. You can now create an application that lets users snap pictures of their family's important documents (including birth certificates, social security cards, passports, IDs and health insurance), and use Personal to encrypt them in the cloud. Then your app can use Personal to let users securely share individual documents with the travel agents, financial advisors or other trusted contacts that need them.


Why Developers use the Personal Platform
We built a platform that worries about privacy and security so you can spend your valuable resources on building your app and growing your business. Use the now-standard OAuth flow to authenticate your users to Personal, store their information in our 256-bit AES encrypted cloud, share with our RSA 2048 asymmetric key encryption, slap the "Powered by Personal" badge on your app to validate to consumers your use of Personal's security and privacy best-practices to end-users and to differentiate from other apps in your industry.

The Personal Platform is different from anything that exists. Information users put in Personal is theirs (see the Owner Data Agreement). And Personal can never see the information because we do not store users' password. We are very proud to have been the first company to go through the process to because a Privacy by Design Organizational Ambassador. There are now ten organizations including DuckDuckGo certified by Privacy by Design.

$5K Developer Challenge
We want to thank the developers building on the Personal API in October by putting up $2.5K on CloudSpokes for the best apps that help parents manage their information, and another $2.5K for apps that help anyone manage personal information in the office (this will run Oct 17-31). Have fun with the CloudSpokes challenges, and feel free to reach out to me through dev@personal.com.

To get access to the Personal Platform register for a Mashery account and request a Personal API Key

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