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Examining Our Manifesto

Because open source is not just for our tech!

About a year ago we wrote the first version of our company manifesto, sharing the ‘why,’ behind the creation of the atPlatform. Our recent name edit (from The @ Company to the easier-to-find and community-bestowed Atsign) has us revisiting and updating much of our content. We thought it would be a great exercise to examine our stated beliefs and make any necessary tweaks based on our learnings. The newer version of our manifesto is pared down—much more direct and to-the-point. In the spirit of being open source, we’d like to share a little bit more about our ‘why,’ with the world. 

Close up of lower half of person's face with their index finger in front of their mouth in a "ssh" gesture.

We believe that the Internet can be better.

Everything starts here. In fact, for many of us it’s become an even stronger belief as we’ve watched our tech become more mature and have had opportunities to use and enjoy it. We see the future, and the future is better. Much, much better. 

Imagine this future, where all of your data belongs to you, where data leaks and hacks are a thing of the past. Whether it’s your smartphone, smart thermostat, or heart rate monitor, everything is secure and controlled by you. The future of the Internet is a safer one, one that is respectful of the people who rely on it every day.

What if we could have a do-over? What if we could extract all the goodness the Internet has to offer without sacrificing our privacy, our time, and our control over our digital identities?

These are still some of the questions driving our goals. Also, think about this: What if you didn’t have to have a unique username and password for every site and service you use, or enter the exact same data countless times, every week? Do we have your attention?  🙂

We want to show the world that there’s a better (and frankly, more convenient) way to exist on the Internet. We wanted the simplest and most effective way to assert identity on the Internet, so we came up with the atSign. Think of it as your digital identity, the key to building that super secure, and super awesome future we keep talking about. 

We believe data privacy is a fundamental right. It’s wrong to require people to trade their personal data for access to online services and businesses. People using devices connected to the Internet deserve to do so safely. Privacy must be an essential part of any online service or technology platform.

Even if you haven’t watched The Social Dilemma, you know better than to expect privacy when you’re online. For too long, Big Tech has held control over our data. We want to promote good data hygiene, which means giving people the right to use and share their data as they see fit. This also means holding companies accountable for being polite enough to ask for your data, and not locking you out of services when your preference is to keep your data to yourself. That’s just common courtesy. There is legislation being put in place to protect people more and more, but legislation without technology ends up just being annoying–like those horrible cookie pop-ups on every website you visit. We are providing the technology to make things better for everyone.

We believe transparency is non-negotiable. People can’t authentically agree to a privacy policy if they don’t fully understand what’s at stake. No more unnecessarily long and ambiguously-worded terms and conditions. Everyone deserves to be in control of exactly how their data is being used.

Privacy policies can be written simply, so why aren’t they? Think about it, how many blind consent forms do you sign each day? When you were in school, and someone wanted to borrow a pen, did they just take it and use it? No, they asked to borrow it, and there was an expectation that you would get it back. Data companies can do the same; they can ask for temporary permission to use your data, and you should have the power to revoke that access at any time. We don’t need long-winded corporate statements, we need grade school decency.

We believe privacy can be fun!

Stay with us here, we know this might sound like a stretch. We’d like to quote one of our co-founders, Kevin, who often starts sentences by saying, “I had a blast working with…” 

People will always be our main focus. We started Atsign in order to enhance people’s lives. We believe people thrive when they’re having fun, and so we encourage all of our team members to incorporate fun into whatever they are doing. Some of our most inspired moments have come from casual conversations. Often, the more irreverent they are, the more new ideas emerge from the laughter. Inevitably, someone comes up with just the right phrase or idea. Fun fuels our innovation. We can certainly bemoan the current state of the Internet, but we prefer to look on the bright side. We call ourselves Internet optimists for a reason.

Seriously. It shouldn’t require elaborate password schemes, forgettable password hints, or picking which boxes have street lights in them to prove one’s humanity to a robot. Privacy experiences should be infused with respect, clarity, and perhaps even a touch of humor.

With an atSign, you’ve already proven that you are you. 

Join us and help #FliptheInternet!

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