Privacy is a Selling Point at CES 2019

A key issue surrounding the future of technology is taking center stage at CES in Las Vegas this week: privacy. One global brand is drawing attention for tackling the topic in a highly visible marketing move, while these startups are showcasing how privacy is baked into their business model. Given that 78% of consumers believe a company’s ability to protect user data is extremely important and mounting regulations like the CCPA and GDPR, more brands will need to consider taking a stance on the subject.


A CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree, Snips is an end-to-end embedded voice AI for connected devices that runs locally and offline, offering OEMs production-grade natural language and simple voice commands solutions without sacrificing brand identity, performance or user data. In other words, it’s a private voice assistant that won’t leave users vulnerable to breaches that have forced some companies to pull connected devices from the market.




Chicago-based startup Winston, a hardware filter that protects privacy online, launched at CES. The device protects online browsing and identity by scrambling and encrypting internet activity through a constantly shifting, decentralized network built on Ethereum. Early tests show an 81% reduction in cookies, 44% reduction in data usage in devices running on the user’s home network, and 47% reduction in page load time compared to the unencrypted internet.


Mute +

Another privacy device, the Mute + from startup Smartē, also launched at CES this week. Designed to sit on top of smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot, it temporarily blocks any noise near the smart speakers’ microphones. The portable, battery-operated device comes with a timer and can be turned on only when needed so that it doesn’t interfere with audio at unwanted times.