The son-and-father team of Alek (left) and David Mezera guide web and cloud-hosting services firm DataYard to locally focused success. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Photo: Thomas Gnau/Staff
Photo: Thomas Gnau/Staff

Protecting your data

In wake of new law, Dayton firm vows not to use user data

When President Donald Trump this month signed legislation that repealed Federal Communication Commission privacy protections for Internet users, the principals behind Dayton-based ‘Net services firm DataYard had a simple message:

DataYard will not sell customer information. Period.

As much as they opposed the legislation, DataYard principals (and father and son) David and Alek Mezera, say they saw the government’s move as a chance to distinguish their company.

“They (other companies) can collect it, they can store it for indefinite periods of time and they can do what they see fit with it, when they decide to do so,” said Alek Mezera, the younger Mezera and the company’s director of client partnerships.

“We will not collect it,” said David Mezera, company president. “We will not keep it for any longer than is necessary to deliver the services we deliver.

“We’re absolutely not interested in monetizing that information.”

The federal privacy rules would have taken effect this year. Enshrined by the previous administration, they would have banned Internet providers from collecting, sharing and mostly importantly, selling user information without consent.

“I don’t think was a surprise, really,” the younger Mezera said of Congress’ push back against the rules.

Ajit Pai — nominated by the Trump administration this year to be FCC chairman — has said the Federal Trade Commission, not the FCC, should regulate how Internet providers use data.

Now in its 22nd year, DataYard was born as Donet, with all of eight phone lines in the beginning. It re-branded as DataYard in 2012.

“We were taking a more strategic business focus, instead of the residential consumer market that we initially started with in ‘95” DataYard’s president said.

The business since then has transformed. Today with 13 employees, the focus goes beyond Internet access. Offered also are server co-location, cloud computing, data backup and more.

The Internet back in the mid-90s was basically a hobby, the Mezeras recalled. Today, it is threaded into our lives in ways few imagined back then.

“Now, the Internet is an essential utility,” the older Mezera said. “It’s an essential element of every business.”

Based downtown at 130 W. Second St., the company is bigger today but remains local — and unmistakeably Daytonian. The focus is not necessarily on ever-growing sales, but on building relationships with customers.

“We’re not trying to get a national footprint or a global footprint,” Dave said.

Why not aim to get bigger?

“It’s harder to maintain those personal relationships,” the elder Mezera said. “You lose that flavor.”

“It’s a race to the bottom from the price side,” Alek said.

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