Decentralizing the Internet Is Only the Start to Reclaiming Privacy

There is much backlash going on over Facebook’s revelations of user data being in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and perhaps many more. Not much of a surprise to more technical users who are more familiar with the surveillance economy as it is now known. People for going on decades have given away their digital identities in exchange for some free services. It is a somewhat timely moment of clarity for Internet users as a whole since it coincides with the explosion of blockchain and other decentralized services and projects.

Now is the time to seize on the backlash and reclaim our privacy online as not just a country but as the Internet as a whole.

There are many good open source and decentralized projects for social media and Facebook equivalents. The real issue comes down to user adoption and supporting the developers.

The most prominent issue with many things decentralized is the lack of privacy. Being that things like blockchain are based on consensus and having a public ledger that is verifiable. The real need in the realm of privacy is the ability to have both public and private blockchain with users having the ability to choose what to make public if any at all.

There is also the need for fast transaction times versus slower more validated transactions. One of the most significant shortcomings of current blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, so forth) is the overhead needed by their Proof of Work (PoW) algorithms and similar. With public transactions, there is a need for more validity, but amongst trusted nodes/users there is less of a need. So there is a need for private and semi-private transactions where Byzantine fault tolerance is not a requirement. Thus allowing block times to be sub-second instead of minutes or more in conventional public blockchain protocols.

Using a public blockchain similar to Ethereum, there is the ability to have enough miners to allow public transactions to help drive the private and semi-private ones. Couple this with distributed and encrypted decentralized data storage and this could be the basis over an overlay Internet-driven fabric to both protect privacy and monetize user data and behavior. While at the same time enhancing information security for everything from users to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.