Decentralized file-sharing services that Big Tech firms cannot control are the only way internet users can maintain their freedom in the coming years.
While censorship resistance and privacy are not the same thing, they are always closed and extensively intertwined. Whenever the government or another entity, including an advertiser, can track everything that you do, they may also sanction you for any perceived bad behavior.
Instead of working backward trying to cover up seismic cracks in Web2 using duct tape, it might be the perfect time to move full speed ahead on guaranteeing the same mistakes do not arise in Web3. By working proactively, the alleged internet of the future can manage to protect our private information and prevent any overzealous or oppressive censorship before these annoying issues become unmanageable.
Using Crypto To Deliver The Message
In the various nations that are fighting for human rights and civil liberties, suppressing outward communication and free speech mostly complicates the struggles against oppressive regimes. That is where the encryption and transparency of blockchain technology can prove to be highly useful in protecting all sensitive information.
File-sharing services (like the InterPlanetary File System) and Web3-based email extensions (including ShelterZoom’s Document GPS) have the needed potential to help the activists and citizens in human rights hotbeds circumvent censorship and any unwarranted and unauthorized surveillance.
By placing documents on a ledger, the sender can control all the aspects of visibility and permissions while concurrently having access to a time-stamped log of each action taken with the file. You can think of it like Google Docs or DocuSign on steroids.
In a regime with strict practices on surveillance and censorship, it is quite easy to see how these blockchain-based tools are invaluable. But these types of solutions also utilize the blockchain to address crypto’s censorship blind spots.
It is a common misconception that cryptocurrency is inherently private when the opposite is true since transactions are stored on an open and transparent distributed ledger. That is why they are traceable in a highly effective fashion than traditional financial transactions.
That lesson was learned the hard way by the truck convoy blockade in Canada, which got donations in Bitcoin (BTC) which were easily and readily traced and sanctioned. In the words of the CEO of blockchain data firm Chainalysis, Michael Gronager:
“Crypto is far more transparent than traditional finance. […] We follow the funds.”
Many now ask, how did crypto earn a reputation as censorship-resistant? Part of the answer is found in decentralized ledger control, making it highly challenging to take over and immutable once a transaction gets recorded within the ledger.
One network striving to offer complete anonymity is Tomi. Tomi is a developer of Web-3-based decentralized solutions and assisted-computing hardware. Led by eight anonymous senior crypto veterans working with 72 developers, Tomi is creating TimiNet aiming to empower the free flow of information between activists, journalists, and law-abiding people without any government or corporate interference.
While TomiNet has the same anonymity functions as the Dark Web, the network is governed by Tomi’s community via a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to prevent any unsavory or pernicious operations and activities.
The key idea behind DAO governance is simple: keep the governments and corporations out, but still provide a mechanism for striking down violence.
Needs For Decentralization Are More Than Theoretical
Another significant example of gatekeeping in Big Tech can be seen in the now controversial, right-wing social network Parler getting kicked off cloud-based web hosting services like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Cloud technology is commended as a beneficial technology in the internet network. However, the issue is that several cloud firms offer nearly all essential infrastructure, empowering them to function as gatekeepers.
Whether you agree with the politics associated with Parler being banned, the event shows how a firm is effectively blocked from operating on the internet since a cloud service provider would not serve them.
Decentralized web hosting may step in as a much-required solution. Firms like Flux and Akash provide a wide range of cloud services imperative for the internet age, but by leveraging decentralization, they eliminate the cloud service’s ability to exert control over the users.
The examples of private entities and governments with lots of power stifling speech and communications are growing every day. Web3 requires stepping up to the plate, but in a more forceful and demonstrative way than it has before. Censorship resistance and privacy live in a symbiotic relationship, and neither of them means anything without the other.
In that context, the crypto industry has to remember this in case it is aiming to fulfill the space’s tall order of promises.
In the meantime, the Iranian regime continues to crack down on protesters and that leaves the citizens afraid to speak out against the dictatorial leadership.