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Are Consumers Worried Enough to Buy a Personal Computer Server?

  • Startup Privacy Labs taps into anti-cloud, anti-big tech mood
  • Helm device pitched as encrypted hub for online identity
computer server

Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Servers make the modern internet possible. Millions of these workhorse computers hum away in remote data centers of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. running websites, sending information to smartphone apps and crunching data for cloud-based software programs.

Privacy Labs Inc., a startup based near Microsoft headquarters just outside Seattle, wants to upend all this in the name of digital security. On Wednesday, it began selling a server that runs email, contacts and calendar services through a personal web domain. The Helm Personal Server is an angular gadget, about the size of an open paperback book, that sits on a side table or desk rather than in a data center. Information is stored and encrypted on the device, not in the cloud.