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Archives | BadgeChain

BadgeChain Newsletter #2 – Trust, Ownership, and Decentralization

March 23rd, 2017 | Carla Casilli and Kerri Lemoie

Do you trust Google, Snap, Facebook, and Instagram? If you store your data, pictures, ideas, etc. with them, you might want to consider this question seriously. Right now any of them disappearing seems impossible—there are server redundancies upon server redundancies that are designed to protect your content, but have you ever perused any of their Terms of Service? Here’s a representative sampling from Twitter’s ToS: “you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

It’s the “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product” adage with real world consequences. But images of cute pets and silly face lenses are not the only things that people are storing online or on their phones: it’s healthcare records and credit card numbers, bank accounts and personal messages. Serious stuff.

Because the current state of Software as a Service (SaaS) limits the capacity to operate outside of this controlled environment, decentralization offers a potentially vital paradigm shift in how we will store—and own and control—our personal content. In the decentralized world beginning to explode, we’ll own and share content as we see fit.

Imagine a new social application that might replace Facebook, one that employs the InterPlanetary Database (IPDB) as its database, the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) as file storage, and Ethereum for calculations. With new technology stacks based on tools such as these, your data, files, and logic could be permanently hosted across distributed nodes. The result? No middleman. This innovation will divide the trust landscape into two entities: whoever you’d like to have access to your data and you. And if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

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Here are the two articles that inspired this newsletter. They provide technical insight into possible futures like the one imagined above. We recommend them to you as interesting data points in your consideration of blockchain technologies.

BadgeChain Newsletter #1 – Governmental data + public accountability in the age of Trump

March 9th, 2017 | Carla Casilli and Kerri Lemoie
Aside from the telephone, the web is perhaps the single most effective communication tool ever invented. It has an unsurpassed capacity to connect people and ideas, and much of the world now benefits from it as well as its resulting data. It often feels like a global public resource.
However, the recent U.S. presidential election and its ensuing administrative shift have challenged our understanding of ownership of governmental websites and the allegedly public data that resides on them. The new administration’s seemingly arbitrary alterations and outright mass deletions of content on some U.S. government websites have destabilized the still nascent open data movement. For much of the public, particularly, scientists, researchers, and educators, the specter of a state-controlled social media with extreme data limitations doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility. In short, the appropriate use of governmental control of personal and public data is now in play.

Thoughtful use of technology can be an important means to an end in remedying global challenges, particularly political ones. Distributed and decentralized technologies can offer ways to disperse information on a global scale thereby lessening fears of deletion and alteration. Capricious governments, questionable officials, and bad actors can and will still occur, but the data stored in distributed networks is more robustly protected against those threats. Mesh networks with multiple points of origin and network redundancy can ensure that content is not lost or deleted without significant effort. The result: greater levels of access and trust.

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Here are the two articles that inspired this newsletter. They provide technical insight into possible futures like the one imagined above. We recommend them to you as interesting data points in your consideration of blockchain technologies.