How do we want to implement digital privacy in society?

For a system of decentralised data storage to succeed, it needs to pervade society. Against all the resistance of the current (and for some very profitable) system. This is what we call the social hack.

We can only achieve this with the help of allies from different backgrounds:

  • Our first goal is to unite interested groups, initiatives that are working on decentralised solutions or that care about privacy and free society.
  • Then we need software that benefits from the decentralised data and brings the technical solution to the user.
  • And finally, we need NGOs to audit the participating companies on their CO2 consumption (if you are wondering how this comes into the game, read the introduction).

Let us take a closer look at these various allies:

Initiatives working on decentralised data storage - our base

For a decentralised solution to be interesting enough to challenge the existing system, it must have certain qualities:

  • A common solution for all services/applications, not a solution for each, as this greatly improves the user experience and the size and quality of the data pool.
  • Require as little user interaction as possible so that we do not lose users due to complexity.
  • Allow surveys to be conducted across different users, under strict control, as this is one of the main drivers of innovation and research.

Privacy is technology neutral. We do not favour any particular solution and invite all initiatives working towards these goals to work with us. We do not want to replace your initiative. We want to help you succeed. Only together will we have the strength to bring the necessary technological solutions to users and ultimately to society.

Free Software projects - the way to the user

Most user facing Free Software projects have a common problem: they do not know anything about their users. This stems from their ethic of user privacy: They will never compromise it.

Unfortunately, without knowing who is using their product and how, it is very hard to do proper user experience work. And while Free Software runs almost the entire backend of the Internet, user facing Free Software often has a hard time competing with proprietary or non-privacy solutions.

We can change that. With privact, free software projects can learn about their users without compromising privacy. And in return, these free software projects will convince their users to use the privact technology. In this way, we can get our software onto masses of users’ devices.

At the same time, we can learn a lot from these collaborations, and they can act as a proof of concept for other interested parties beyond the open source space. And there are many. We know that many even larger companies are looking for an alternative to the current system.

NGOs - our speaker

With our focus on data donation, we have an interesting offer for environmental NGOs. We want to allow users to donate their data for surveys, depending on the CO2 consumption of the data consuming organisation. There are several interesting aspects for these NGOs:

  • In order to participate, organisations will have to disclose their carbon footprint and plans. This transparency will be extremely beneficial for NGOs working to mitigate climate change.
  • Seeing that a better carbon footprint will lead to more and better access to user data provides an economic motivation for companies to improve their carbon performance. This is in line with the objectives of these NGOs.
  • The information on the CO2 consumption of organisations needs to be verified. We want to work with environmental NGOs to do this. This will generate income for these NGOs.

In addition to the environmental impact, other aspects of the organisations will be addressed in later stages of development. For example, we want to motivate organisations to create better working conditions by only donating to those that are certified to be free of child labour. Again, we would work with trade unions to verify this information.

These goals are also in line with many other Internet, privacy or society-oriented NGOs. We hope they will join our discussion.

With the help and existing reach of these NGOs, we can create the noise we need to successfully crowdfund the foundation.

There is a chance for our social hack to succeed. But we need to be united.

Putting it all together - our plan

Privact is the platform to coordinate the social hack needed to make decentralised data storage the standard. This is where we want to gather with our allies to discuss and implement the plan.

  1. Form an alliance of projects working on decentralised data storage and privacy on the internet.
    Together we want to define our goals, analyse what exists and create a project plan for what needs to be done. We need this because we can only penetrate society with a single solution.
  2. Win free software projects to implement our solution.
    We need to get lots of users to participate in our system, because that is what pervading society is all about. Free software is the most trusted communicator and a perfect multiplier for this matter, and we can offer them an interesting solution.
  3. Partner with NGOs for auditing and outreach.
    We are going to need some money at some point. We can try to get some government funding for this, but since we are actually doing this for all the data providers, we should be aiming for a big crowd-sourcing effort. For that we need publicity, which our partner NGOs will help us with.
  4. Let data providers know the value of their data
    We should not forget that our ultimate allies are the users of the system, the data providers - all of us. It is for us that we do all this.
    And once you are part of our system, you will experience the value of your data. Based on all your real data, services can be much more useful and discreet than they are today. I expect many open and closed source projects to emerge, providing personal assistants of all kinds. And as the growing pool of data becomes more interesting, the public benefit will grow.

If we can bring all these parties together, we will be able to create the largest pool of personal data that has ever existed. It will be decentralised but coordinated. It will be beneficial and privacy-preserving for the individual, while still being able to unleash its potential for the progress of society as a whole.