Just as you might think twice about eating chicken nuggets once you see how they are made, you would probably hesitate to disclose your personal information once you see how it is used and made money.
Freedom has become one of the world’s most common assets – and over the years the Internet has eroded it.
We live in a world where when buying sneakers we are confronted with 5,000 words of conditions. Crucial details about what companies do with our data are hidden in tons of legal language, prompting most of us to click “I agree” without thinking about the consequences.
In other cases, companies are unacceptably opaque about how our data is used. This is a big problem when companies offer their services for free… provided we can provide our email address, phone number and a few other details.
A scene from the recent science fiction series Maniac perfectly illustrated where the world is going. A character is given a choice – they can either pay for their metro ticket or get it for free in exchange for some personal information. As you would guess, they bluntly chose the latter.
That’s basically what we do every day: give our data to businesses large and small, sacrificing our privacy and freedom.
It’s gotten so bad that individual states have had to step in with rules and regulations designed to protect the public, many of whom don’t know what they’re signing up for when they tick a seemingly harmless box on a website.
And it is also telling that tech giants are concerned about shutting down the faucets. When Apple unveiled a new feature that allowed users to opt-out of tracking their activity on apps and websites, Facebook launched a fierce PR campaign against the measures. The social network said it spoke out to protect the small businesses that rely on its platform for targeted advertising. Cynics among you will see it as a brutal attempt to protect profits by a company accused of one of the most insidious and influential data mining in history.
Pandora’s box has been opened
The tide is starting to change – as we’ve opened Pandora’s box – and the world is starting to wait a long time to have discussions about the privacy we are entitled to online.
For over 10 years we have experienced an abundance of financial freedom thanks to Bitcoin (BTC) and its rivals … but there is still a long way to go in other parts of our society.
Last week I went to the store and spontaneously bought some moisturizer, and when I got home I did a Google search to find out more about the product. For the next seven days, I was bombarded with moisturizing ads on Facebook.
Like our health, well-being and careers, freedom is an inner personal responsibility that we must guard, maintain and protect – especially in the digital world, where it can all too easily be sold in exchange for access to free services.
To feel free and safe at home, we rely on the privacy of our property and the trustworthiness of our friends and neighbors. Government laws and housing association rules endorse this. But we also entrust our financial privacy to institutions – in the expectation that they will be held accountable by regulators and central banks – and the whole reason Bitcoin was launched in 2009 was because our expectations were not met.
Why blockchain is the answer
Every modern proof-of-stake blockchain addresses the issues of digital privacy and trust in a unique way, and in these vibrant communities, decentralized governance helps ensure standards are upheld, with cutting methods that deter those tempted. work against the interests of a network.
With PoS blockchains, users benefit from informed consent. They are kept informed about proposals to improve and expand the network and about ideas for new services. Digital social consensus means they can read debates about the pros and cons of each proposal, come to their own conclusions and vote accordingly. Can you really imagine a tech giant doing this?
Privacy issues can be solved by generating abstract network addresses that are not permanently linked to public keys – or by using special proxy smart contracts, which are similar to VPN and Tor, but on top of the blockchain.
Can blockchain technology solve some of the most pressing privacy and trust issues in a generation? I believe so. Once the technology is in place and the transactions are cheap enough, consumers can make a choice: share their private data or pay a small fee instead.
We need to learn hard lessons from the past and make the right decision this time. I remember the early days of email when spam messages were a major problem. A small sender fee was considered a way to get around this problem, but in the end, Gmail came out on top. Now there are no financial costs … we only pay the small price that Google takes to host all of our electronic correspondence.
Proof-of-stake blockchains can deliver low-cost transactions, decentralized governance governing the rules of the network, maximum privacy and no data collection policies. Every story starts with trust – and in the blockchain world, trust starts with the network.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the sole ones of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Vladimir Maslyakov is the CTO of Thekey.space and former CTO of Exante.eu. As an IT architect he developed various distributed financial systems. He has been a blockchain aficionado since 2012 and is a first member of the Free TON community.