This article by has originally published at CoinCentral.com
There was a time when we used to write postcards for others. The postcards were the big privacy invasion scare that time. Today, our personal privacy is under siege by veiled government surveillance programs and the countless tech company Trojan Horses. So how Blockchain Can Protect Our Privacy? How Blockchain Can Protect Our Privacy before it disappears?
Technical innovations in the past twenty years have blurred the lines of “apart from a company” and “unauthorized intrusion,” and now our personal privacy is under attack from multiple fronts. Our locations are constantly being tracked on our phones, which are borderline inseparable from our bodies. We are under constant surveillance. Social media platforms know more about us than we should be comfortable with.
Many personal privacy advocates have taken to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency entrepreneurship to build solutions that address the concerns of our dwindling right to privacy in the digital world. Technological advancements like blockchain and zero-proof have given the pro-privacy debate a new gust of wind. The beauty of these solutions is that they offer encryption or at least partial obfuscation on a massive scale.
Some privacy attacks we faced in past
The danger of online companies luring you into new comfort zones and collecting your data is deeper than merely trying to sell you stuff.
In May 2018, an Oregon couple was at home talking about hardwood floors. The husband received a phone call from one of his employees in Seattle who said he received an email with the full conversation. The couple’s Amazon Echo (Amazon’s “smart speaker”), recorded the conversation and sent it over.
Amazon’s explanation of the situation was as follows:
“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa.’ Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”
While this story alone should be unsettling for anyone with a smart device in their home, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A lot like this we face in our life. An example here:
So How Blockchain Can Protect Our Privacy?
Anonymity and data-privacy focused blockchain projects aim to protect your online activity, account information, and browsing behavior from unknowingly falling into the corporate coffers, personal information data markets, or the hands of malicious third parties.
So How Blockchain Can Protect Our Privacy? One such project, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), helps power and incentivize the use of its anonymity-focused browser. BAT’s Brave browser utilizes smart contracts to allow advertisers to send ads with locked payment tokens directly to users. Users can then use their earned BAT on several things like premium articles and products, donations to content creators, data services, or high-resolution pictures.
BAT and many other projects with Facebook and Google in their scopes have business models that revolve around replacing the third-party intermediary component of ad networks. As a result, platforms can offer a browsing or social experience without collecting or storing extensive personal data.
BAT, and many other projects with Facebook and Google in their scopes have business models that revolve around replacing the third-party intermediary component of ad networks. As a result, platforms can offer a browsing or social experience without collecting or storing extensive personal data.
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.“
–Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a 2009 CNBC special “Inside the Mind of Google”
Many cryptocurrency and blockchain advocates share an unwavering support for their rights to privacy. The degrees of this privacy range from a desire for data protection to a firm and resolute mission to forever keep their identity off the grid.
Data truly is a toxic asset, where any aggregator like Facebook, Google, Amazon, or even the United States government takes on a huge risk when storing it. Over time, the data deposits become richer and a much more profitable target for hackers.
The movement for privacy is about protecting your future and that of the next generations from being born in a world that is stifled by transgressions gone unaddressed.
Privacy-focused blockchain projects remove the need for a central authority, as well as the burden of security for data. These solutions can prevent another Equifax hack from happening, which is already an enormous value-add.
If there is a demand for greater privacy, competitors will arise to offer it. That is, of course, if that alternative is frictionless to adopt. (*hint* hey blockchain entrepreneurs, spend less time on jargon-infested soap opera whitepapers and more on UI/UX).
However, the current state of privacy blockchain innovation is imperfect at best.
What to do at present?
According to Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin in “Privacy on the Blockchain,”
“It’s much harder to create a ‘holy grail’ technology which allows users to do absolutely everything that they can do right now on a blockchain, but with privacy; instead, developers will in many cases be forced to contend with partial solutions, heuristics and mechanisms that are designed to bring privacy to specific classes of applications.”
For now, the best we can do is monitor and test privacy-focused solutions like little saplings. The more of a demand there is for privacy, the greater the investment in attention and capital there will be to build up a satisfactory alternative.
Keep yourself sharp by following monumental privacy cases as they will inevitably continue to appear, educate yourself on what steps you can take today.
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