Building the future of mobile privacy

04.18.24 - 4 min read

An image of John Doyle, CEO and Founder of Cape

I’m proud to announce that from top investors like A* and Andreessen Horowitz to accelerate our work in building America’s privacy-focused mobile service.

This is a big step for Cape, and I wanted to share my reflections on how we got here, why privacy matters, and how the cellular network is key to regaining control over our personal data and identity.

Why I believe that privacy matters, for everyone

The founding team and I started Cape because we believe privacy and security are inherently valuable. Control over your personal information is critical to autonomy and freedom. You can explore new ideas and take risks when you know that your privacy is protected.

At Palantir, where I started in technical roles more than 10 years ago, I learned about a wide array of vulnerabilities in the cellular network that present a threat not only to mission-focused organizations in government, but also to everyday people. I came to see mobile phones — and the networks that power them — as perhaps the largest risks to our privacy and security.

If you told Americans twenty years ago that corporations and governments would conspire to attach powerful tracking devices to nearly every adult worldwide, it would’ve sounded like science fiction. And yet, that’s not far from where we are today.

Cell phones are now ubiquitous, as are the surveillance and security threats that they enable.

How did this happen? In the 15 or so years it took for smartphones to go from 0 to 90% adoption in the United States, we saw a corresponding rise in free services available online. Now, we can get email, browsers, news, entertainment, social networking, and more, all for free.

As the saying goes, if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. Regardless of the wisdom of striking that bargain, at least we generally do it eyes wide open, understanding that we are giving away personal privacy in exchange for free services.

But what about a basic utility that we do pay for: our monthly cell phone plan? Our data is collected in bulk and sold to the data broker industry, or . The protocols and procedures that run the networks themselves leave us to infringements on our privacy and . We should not be forced into this compromise in order to use a service that is effectively required, and for which we pay a substantial bill each month.

Most Americans are increasingly concerned about privacy and security and want to do something about it.

I spend a lot of time talking to people about privacy and security, and I’ve come to recognize a familiar and pervasive learned helplessness—“They already know everything about me anyway,” “That ship has sailed,” or, “I have nothing to hide, so why does it matter?” I believe this helplessness comes from a mistaken sense that the problem is too big to be solved. The problem is too big to solve all at once, but it can be broken down into a series of smaller technical challenges and solved feature by feature, each of which makes progress towards our goal of connection without compromise.

And people are starting to care. Americans are more concerned about data security now than they were a few years ago. by adjusting settings and purchasing privacy-related services for their phones and apps, but until now they have had no control over the risks inherent in the underlying cellular networks they use to access the Internet.

We founded Cape to take back control of our mobile identity, so people can be connected without compromise.

At Cape we’re motivated by the prospect of giving people control over their mobile identities, so they can remain connected and live their lives without compromising their privacy or security.

If you’re excited about this vision too, I’d love to talk. We're reimagining connectivity in this mobile-first world, with privacy and security at the core.

John Doyle
CEO and Founder of Cape

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