Kicking Off Privacy Week @ Fastly

The internet is an unprecedented venue for connecting with others, transacting business, learning and expressing ourselves. However, some of the fundamental mechanics of the web lend themselves to surveillance technologies that track our behavior, interests and even personal relationships without our consent. 

Wherever web users are looking to control their exposure to these technologies, Fastly has unmatched, global-scale infrastructure to provide privacy without compromising performance. Fastly strives to enable privacy by design in all our products. This is why we’re kicking off Privacy Week at Fastly, running today through next week to help us spotlight how we’re helping to innovate and enhance the web’s privacy standard.

We believe that users of the internet should have more power to decide how much of their traffic is observed by third parties. So, we worked with Apple to support key infrastructure pillars of iCloud Private Relay. You know Private Relay works great because Apple, and tens of millions of iCloud customers, now rely on it every day. We want this power to be in more people’s hands, so we’re supporting INVISV in its initiatives to bring similar privacy protections to Android users

Below is Part 1 of our Privacy series, and we’ll be exploring more stories about privacy all next week – including how acquiring Glitch, a beloved platform for creative developers, actually strengthened their privacy policy.  Stay tuned!

Part 1: Privacy for Mobile Networks: INVISV launches Network Privacy Services with Fastly

With the launch of INVISV Relay, now both major mobile platforms, iOS and Android, have crucial internet privacy protection – Apple iCloud Private Relay and INVISV Relay – both powered by Fastly’s global privacy proxy infrastructure.

Privacy means being free from observation, and nowhere is this more important than the internet, where we must rely upon others to carry our traffic.

We believe in making the internet as good as it can be, and part of that is ensuring that all users have control over who sees their information when they use the internet. We strongly believe that the entire internet has to be upgraded to be both more secure and easier for everyone to use securely, and that we have a critical role to play in it. We're so committed to that vision that we actively support innovation throughout the technology stack, transforming our technical advancements into products and infrastructure that the best companies in the world can integrate to protect their users. Today, it’s harder than ever for users to preserve their privacy with modern communications tools, but that reality only heightens the urgency of this work.

Today, we are excited and proud to announce that we have partnered with INVISV in their launches of Relay, an app and service that protects user metadata on the internet, and Pretty Good Phone Privacy, a new type of mobile privacy service that embeds Relay. Fastly enables a key piece of this relay service with our fast and secure privacy proxy infrastructure.

What is INVISV Relay?

In order to connect to the internet, your devices must have and use IP addresses, and all communications contain both your IP address and either the name or the IP address of the site you are visiting. However, these identifiers are nakedly visible to many entities in the network, such as your network provider, the site you are connecting to, and any third party sites that are embedded in the site you are visiting. This allows the network operator, the primary site, and the third party sites to know both your identity and the sites you are visiting, which has fueled a booming data broker industry.

This is where Relay comes in. Relay is a new Android mobile privacy service from INVISV, that builds upon and generalizes the use of Fastly’s Privacy Proxy infrastructure, and provides users with privacy protection as they use their mobile devices to access the internet through both WiFi and mobile connectivity. Relay makes it so that the nakedly visible information above is effectively not available to anyone besides the user. This is an important architectural point – unlike VPNs, the architecture of Relay is designed for privacy. Using a dual-hop architecture similar to iCloud Private Relay, neither INVISV nor Fastly can associate a user’s identifiers to their internet traffic.

Relay provides users with privacy that they can trust – not because they trust either INVISV or Fastly with their private information, but because the underlying technology makes it impossible for INVISV, Fastly, the network provider, the primary sites, or the third-party sites to independently know this private information. This is powerful new technology.

INVISV is not just any startup. It’s founded by Barath Raghavan and Paul Schmitt, both of whom are network security experts with years of deep experience building new networking and security solutions across the stack. INVISV is making waves building cutting-edge privacy technology for everyday users and usage.

How does INVISV Relay use Fastly’s Privacy Proxy Infrastructure?

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Fastly’s infrastructure ensures that we are nearly everywhere on the internet. With our global presence and finely-tuned software stack, we’ve been able to ensure extremely low latency and high performance for many of the internet’s biggest services.

When an INVISV user accesses the internet through Relay, the user’s device establishes nested TLS-encrypted network connections from their device through INVISV’s infrastructure (which masks the user’s IP address), and on to Fastly’s privacy proxy infrastructure running at a nearby Fastly POP. The user’s device instructs Fastly’s proxy to connect to a destination service, such as a website, and then tunnels another TLS connection through this to ensure end-to-end TLS encryption from the device to the service. From then on, data flows normally, all while ensuring that neither INVISV nor Fastly knows the contents of the communication or even the source or destination of each connection being made.

We have worked hard to ensure that this privacy is provided with minimal to no impact on performance. This is the internet we want to build – one that supports your privacy while remaining fast and responsive – and we continue building technologies that provide this by design.

More to come

At Fastly we’re proud to be at the forefront of new privacy and security technologies for the internet. Watch this space: there’s much more to come from the partnership with INVISV and for Fastly’s suite of privacy-enabling services.

This post is part of Privacy Week, where Fastly is bringing you stories about how we’re integrating privacy practices and technology into the very fabric of the internet.

Jana Iyengar
VP, Product, Infrastructure Services

5 min read

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Jana Iyengar
VP, Product, Infrastructure Services

Jana Iyengar is VP of Product for Infrastructure Services at Fastly, where he is responsible for the core hardware, software, and networking systems that constitute Fastly’s platform. Prior to this, he was a Distinguished Engineer at Fastly, where he worked on transport and networking performance, building and deploying QUIC and HTTP/3, and serving as editor of the IETF’s QUIC specifications. He chairs the IRTF’s Internet Congestion Control Research Group (ICCRG). Prior to Fastly, he worked on QUIC and other networking projects at Google, before which he was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Franklin & Marshall College.”

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