EXPOSED! is a weekly series of articles run here on decentralize.today where we seek to reveal the corruption and wrongdoing of individuals, corporations and governments. The latter are charged with 'controlling' the activities of the former but so often get it wrong...as shown with today's piece from the Particl Project blog.

The GDPR and other consent-based privacy regulations don't protect your data at all! We dive into why the recent institutional push for these is more bark than bite, and where to go from there.

The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, was established in 2018 with the putative role of defending data protection and privacy. The law was passed in the European parliament and targets European Union members and the companies that wish to do business there – however, its presence has been noticeable in the past few years all across the internet, especially in the form of a pop-up on many websites asking you to confirm or alter the website’s use of cookies.

Unfortunately, the GDPR, and most other privacy or data-related government regulations, are little more than political grandstanding for democratically-elected governments to signal that they are "doing something" about the increasingly prevalent issue of online privacy and data harvesting. As a result, not much is changing in practice from a data collection and usage perspective. The same is true for most companies that have started to do marketing out of their "strong privacy policies". It has become a marketing buzzword, and when you dig deeper, you realize they are still collecting, using, sharing, and often losing your data.

In concrete terms, the GDPR and most other data regulations only require companies to disclose what data they collect and what they do with it. Then, they have to get you to accept those terms and conditions. Oftentimes, if you don't accept, you simply won’t be able to use the product or platform, or sometimes only in a limited manner. It is also an obvious fact that most people simply accept TOCs without really reading them, since these "requests for data use" pop up almost everywhere you go online now and just take too much time to properly read through.

Other times, for instance when you want to register to a marketplace like Amazon or Ebay, simply registering to the platform means that you agree to their TOCs on data collection and usage. Don’t agree with them overlooking your every move? Then you are refused services and can’t do business on their platform. And you would be well-advised not to accept these terms in many cases. After all, e-commerce data, such as data generated by online shoppers and vendors, is constantly used to study certain business sectors in order to overtake them more effectively, especially in the case of Amazon. This results in honest sellers going out of business thanks to the very own data they provided to e-commerce platforms. Deep down, do you really agree to this when using a marketplace - or are you merely being coerced into accepting what's being imposed on you?

There seemingly is no real alternative to protect your data when browsing the web anymore. All platforms collect your information, a lot of them lose it to hackers or due to gross negligence, and multiple parties still track your every move, GDPR or not.

The Golden Promise of Decentralized E-Commerce

Decentralized apps, privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, and decentralized marketplaces are in a prime position to tackle the issue from the core. The ability to buy and sell anything with no middleman, directly person-to-person, and with no restrictions sends us back to the original principles of cash transactions while transcending physical borders and promising equal access to all. Although in a nascent stage, it can be said for many to be the future of e-commerce.

Many decentralized marketplaces, however, have a critical weakness that could potentially make them worse than even traditional marketplaces like Amazon. In the case of traditional blockchain technology, all the data is tracked on a public blockchain or over publicly-accessible networks. That oversight, combined with increasingly sophisticated blockchain tracing and blockchain data mining, means all of that data is publicly viewable to anyone. So now, it's not just the marketplace and its partners that have access to your data, it’s whoever is curious enough to simply look it up. That’s bad if you're an individual, and critically damaging if you are a business that ends up revealing their critical data to competitors.

In some other cases, decentralized marketplaces are not entirely decentralized and various data sets go directly through third-parties or central authorities; essentially bringing us back to the very same core issues observed with typical e-commerce platforms built on traditional web technology.

DT Note: The following is a suggested solution from the team that authored this article...

Yes, the Solution is De-Commerce, BUT With Full Privacy

This is precisely the raison d’etre of Particl Marketplace. We are delivering all the promises of decentralized commerce (decommerce), but we're also fixing the critical issue of data leaks and exposure by making it inherently private.

Every single aspect of the marketplace is private; from your transactions, to your sales data, and all the way up to your browsing habits or even your network connection. We don't track what you look for, how many seconds you look at one thing, or where your cursor wanders. The end result? Your personal and business information, shipping details, and network identity remain entirely private and secure. You have total and uncompromising freedom to conduct business the way you want to and with who you want to.

One thing is for certain: the best way to protect your data from leaks and abuse is to not have any data to collect in the first place. And that is precisely how Particl protects you. Whether you're buying or selling stuff on Particl, the marketplace simply never ever generates any traceable or identifiable data about you. No data, no problem. It’s that simple!

Say NO to "Being the Product"!

There is simply no need to stress over unnecessarily long and convoluted privacy policies or over whether or not a particular website you visit is competent enough not to lose or misuse your data. There's a real alternative that’s available to you right at this instant, one that is safe, free, completely unrestricted, and without as much of a single middleman. Get started with Particl Marketplace today and claim your full data sovereignty and your right to privacy online.

Find out more at:

Particl.io - Apps that respect your rights
Cut off the middleman and live free with apps that respect your rights, freedoms, and privacy. A world of opportunities awaits you!

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