Most things in life start with good intentions, Some would say the road to hell is paved with them!
From the “Splitting of the Atom” on December 17th 1938 to the invention of the “Magnavox” in 1915, one only needs look to the past for the confirmation that all things even seamlessly harmless inventions like the printing Press to the convincingly uplifting social/political movements of the early 1900s like National Socialism it is apparent all good things abide by dualistic principles and therefore may be used for the greater good or the greater evil.
In these late stages of 2019 On the knife edge of the 2020s buzz words of “Cashless societies” “And “Artificial Intelligence” captures our hearts and imaginations, much like the words of a man in late May of 1961.
Painting a utopian picture of a greater tomorrow, but at what cost?
Not since the printing press has an invention impacted the world with the magnitude that the widespread availability of the internet has had. Now imagine for a minute that the printing press never became publicly available! And instead was locked away for the privilege of just 'The few'. What kind of world do you think it would be today? One full of diversity, art, culture and knowledge for those who seek it? Or something resembling a Hunger Games novel.. But I digress.
It is clear that Information is power and power in the wrong hands can and will inevitably become dangerous, No matter how good the intentions may be to start.
From Siri to Alexa it’s a “Brave New World” of driver-less cars and smart cities with social credit systems and facial recognition to boot! And with 5G the Internet of Things is only a blink away from deployment.
A connection for everything and EVERYTHING connected, it sounds Bold and exciting, doesn’t it? But at what cost does “Convenience technology” come at for 'Us', 'the people'?
If information is power and power is dangerous in the hands of the 'The few' then it goes without saying that protecting ones' privacy is a powerful thing to do, And if “Data is the new Oil” Why in the hell are you giving it away for Free!?
Was the battle cry of a group of early 90s internet & privacy advocates who referred to themselves as “Cypherpunks”
Even back then the premonition of the erosion of privacy globally was evident and it is no more evident than today, right now as you read this, and has only progressed since this was written.
If privacy is power and power dangerous in the hands of the few, then privacy, therefore power should be distributed to the many and protected from the few.
On the 3rd of January 2009 what could possibly become the greatest event in human history unfolded, The beginnings of a new age was given breath and fittingly termed 'The Genesis Block'. The first rays of a golden age of 'disruptive and distributed networks' had dawned on a 'Brave New World'. But at what cost?
As history has shown us most things that turn out bad began with good intentions, Now 10 years into the revolution that is Blockchain we see all the hallmarks emerging that groups like the cypherpunks and individuals such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden warned us of, even risking and in some cases sacrificing their safety and freedom to do so.
Buzz words like 'Blockchain analysis' and 'financing of Terrorism' swirl around while privacy blockchains are targeted and demonized with some countries even going to the extremes of outlawing them completely, coins like Monero and Zcash have faced increasing pressure over the past few months even being de-listed from multiple exchanges due to new regulations in those jurisdictions, while other privacy blockchains such as Particl only narrowly circumnavigate these increasingly strict regulations with new innovative approaches to these issues such as decentralized governance and flexible protocols like their 3 stages of privacy.
It seems even the future of Blockchain is in jeopardy and without so much of a whimper of concern from the majority, while the minority watch the train crash in slow-motion disbelief.
In life you either take matters into your own hands or someone else does it for you.
It may be true you have nothing to hide snd believe this does not affect you, You may think privacy is for the paranoid or the guilty, or that it’s only use is for seedy activity done in murky shadows and shunned by society.
But information is power and your privacy is information so when they come and take our power away....it will only be a matter of time before they take yours.
So I will leave you with these words until next time....
Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.