AWS Startups Blog

One.Thing.Less Empowers Individuals to Take Control of Their Data

Guest post by James Aschberger, Founder & CEO, One.Thing.Less 

Privacy and the handling of personal data continue to be a hot topic for media, government, companies and individuals alike. And with good reason. Increased spam and news of yet another data breach lead us to feel exposed and vulnerable. Everyday life situations such as applying for jobs, a mortgage or simply making a purchase make it increasingly important to know and control what personal information is out there and how it’s being used. Many big-name organizations are coming up short when scrutinized, leading to increased distrust among the public.

Personal data—created by and belonging to us—is valuable, so individuals should be able to control who has access to it and for what purpose. However, often they’re unaware of what they have consented to and the digital footprints they leave behind. This uncertainty and complexity surrounding how to establish a clear view of our digital life and how to control it, leave people increasingly frustrated. It’s not uncommon for us to hear

Many of us are uncomfortable with this status quo, but don’t have an easy solution to the problem. “I’m worried about my data, but don’t have the time or knowledge to contact companies individually or read through all the privacy policies and terms of use” has been a common sentiment we’ve heard over and over again. New regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), now give more power to individuals to obtain information about themselves and how their personal data is used and shared. But these rights mean little if one can’t claim and fulfil them easily. Nobody has provided a simple and effortless solution. Until now.

Powered by AWS, One.Thing.Less offers individuals a free and simple way to take control over the use of their personal data. Our mission is to not only provide transparency, but to empower digital trust between companies and individuals. With one click, One.Thing.Less approaches companies selected by the user on his or her behalf and asks seven important questions about how they use their personal data. Questions such as: if they have personal data, whether they share it with others, if they profile the user, monitor online or offline behavior, or track his or her location.

We don’t ask for a user’s personal data itself, as our platform service simply helps individuals get answers to these questions. A push notification informs the user the moment a company responds, so users can easily review responses and ask to change what they don’t like. All with one click, in a single app where individuals can get the transparency and changes they want without having to do the legwork. Think of it as One.Thing.Less to worry about!

When I started this entrepreneurial journey, I knew I wanted to create a meaningful service that would positively impact people’s lives. As a founder with a clear vision, but limited technical competencies, it was daunting to think of how to bring the project to life on my own. My co-founder Lukas Morscher—a Partner at Lenz & Staehelin—not only shared the vision, but also brought with him the legal expertise to help make the idea work. Part of the solution design relied on having a provider that matched our many requirements around GDPR compliance, security, reliability, modularity and global scalability of services, an EU-based location and the availability of independent audit reports on the services, organization and controls. The support, expertise and transparency received from the AWS Startup team – from setup, to testing, to actual deployment and production, helped us focus on what we needed to achieve and significantly reduced the time and effort required to run our infrastructure. We now use a whole set of AWS resources to provide our services, with AWS Elastic Beanstalk and the encrypted AWS Aurora RDS being two core elements to prepare us for automated scaling.

Trust and security are paramount when it comes to personal data. Many companies claim they do what they promise and hope their customers believe them. We’ve gone one step further to earn trust and have had our services, organization, technology and controls audited by Ernst & Young based on the globally applicable ISAE 3000 standards. The One.Thing.Less app is available on the Apple App Store and will be available later in June on Google Play free of charge to individuals because we believe no one should have to pay for transparency regarding the use of their personal data. We do not sell personal information, and our solution is free of advertising. We monetize by helping companies answer customer requests regarding the use of their personal data faster, efficiently and more securely by using our platform. For forward-thinking companies who share our values around safeguarding privacy as a fundamental human right, we’re here to engage and add value.

Fatih Mehtap

Fatih Mehtap

Fatih leads Startup Marketing for AWS in EMEA, responsible for accelerating engagement with startup hubs and communities across the region.