Similar to the advent of the printing press, the internet helped decentralize communication and empower individuals. Prior to the printing press, the average person didn’t know how to read or write and had to rely on the opinions of scribes to access knowledge. When information is controlled by the elect few, this creates an imbalance in society because knowledge is power.
In a similar fashion, prior to the internet, media corporations were the gatekeepers of information. If someone wanted to spread a message or share their creativity they needed to bow down to their corporate overlords. One prime example of this is music, traditionally most artists were in debt to the record labels and often lacked full freedom of expression. When you control the message, you control the culture that shapes our society.
The internet created a balance of power for global communication. Anyone can spread a message, create culture or start an online business on a shoe string budget, without the need to beg for permission.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are creating another wave of disseminating power by using networks of value and disrupting age old financial monopolies.
Data is a Commodity
In the information age, data is a valuable commodity. Everything on the internet is simply data being stored on computers. Software, websites, algorithms, art, music, videos and cryptocurrencies are all forms of digital data that represent multi-trillion dollar industries. Most real world commodities are also being traded online as a digital representation of value.
Another form of data being sold on the market is all your private information. Social media sites like Facebook have received backlash for turning the private information of their users into a commodity. All your spending habits, behavioural patterns, financial records, interests, and your private information is being sold on the market.
Nothing to Hide
When average people find out that they are under constant surveillance, the typical response is “who cares, I have nothing to hide”. What these people don’t realize is that knowledge is power and the more knowledge someone has over you, the more they can control your life. Let’s dive in a bit deeper to explore the various ways one’s life can be disrupted via a lack of privacy…
Black Hat Hackers
Let’s start with the most obvious concerns regarding privacy… having your information stolen by hackers. Your private information in the hands of the wrong people can wreck havoc in your life. All your valuable digital commodities including emails, websites, online accounts, money, contact lists, cryptocurrencies and even your identity can be stolen from you. Let that sink in.
Perhaps you may think your government is somewhat benevolent but there are numerous cases of persecution that can happen as a result of surveillance. One prime example is how the Chinese government tortures and executes spiritual practitioners of Falun Gong. For these people, privacy isn’t about personal taste, it’s about life and death. Also given the transient nature of politics, never assume that you couldn’t be persecuted for your opinions or beliefs.
Your information can be used against you by sophisticated algorithms that try to modify your behaviour. This is done primarily to influence culture, politics and sell you products.
Privacy and Security
Society rushed into the information age head first without fully understanding the risks associated with securing our data. Privacy is an integral component to security. Hackers require private information such as passwords, location, accounts and names in order for there to be a security breach.
After several decades of this global experiment, people are starting to realize the importance of privacy and security. Massive data breaches are becoming the norm of society because we failed to properly manage risk.
As more people realize the importance of online security, we’ll likely start to see a trend where privacy becomes a valuable commodity.
Also, the current privacy solutions available on the markets are somewhat limited…
- VPNs require trust in a third party and use centralized servers, which creates a single point of failure.
- Tor has been compromised with shadow agencies controlling many of the exit nodes.
- Proprietary software can’t be fully verified or trusted.
We need to tackle the current problem with new solutions. Eijah, a long time hacker, privacy activist and developer with +20 years of experience is working on a solution. He spent four years coding up a secure and private file sharing network called Demonsaw out of his own pocket. His current goal is to raise funds to expand his vision into a full-fledged all-in-one privacy solution called Promether.
This network will have some of the following benefits…
- It will be a decetralized VPN with encrypted data distributed amongst nodes
- Blockchain projects will be able to secure their nodes through this network to increase privacy
- It will have secure file sharing and messaging that doesn’t leave a trace
- Private internet browsing
- Secure VOIP