Privacy, unlike security, that implies protection of the well-being, is a lot more subjective. Often linked together with security, privacy can be defined broadly as “someone’s right to keep their personal matters and relationships secret”. You can compare any two countries in the world, and more often than not their values on personal privacy will be completely different, and you can expand that notion with cities, neighborhoods and even individuals.
In most developed countries, the right to privacy is written in the majority of constitutions, and major invasions of privacy are forbidden.
Privacy could be understood as sharing the things you want to share with whom you want to share it, with control over the time and place, but is so complex it’s almost impossible to describe. Alan Westin defines four states of privacy (Privacy and Freedom, 1967):
Solitude: Separation of an individual from the group and freed from the observation of other persons.
Intimacy: An individual as a part of a small unit
Anonymity: An individual in public seeking freedom from identification and surveillance.
Reserve: The creation of psychological barriers against unwanted intrusion, holding back communication.
As privacy is too broad, there are a couple of aspects we would like to talk about, and that is privacy in communication, and specifically access and control of data, that seems to be one of the most prominent aspects of digital privacy debates.
The first type of communication that existed was non-verbal, and the privacy of it depended on others not watching you, or not sharing what you communicated. When communication became oral, the privacy of it consisted on other persons not overhearing it, or the person you were communicating with not sharing the information with others.
With the invention of handwriting, written communications started getting more sensible, as the communication was unidirectional and asynchronous, meaning there was a time difference between when you sent the message and when it was received, and there was a process to transmit written messages, first by messengers, and then by services such as the postal mail. Common security/privacy practices started emerging, such as sealing wax to know if the envelope was open or burning the letters after done reading.
Fast forward a little bit, after the creation of the telegraph and telephone, communications started getting more global, and with that the privacy concerns started growing, as well as for the fact that portable cameras started evolving at a fast pace.
At the point we are now, the Internet connects almost half of the worldwide population, and while it has revolutionized some of the previous concepts of communication, there have been a lot of risks associated with it. Some experts, such as Mikko Hyppönen, say that security and privacy have been bolted on the Internet, because it was meant to be open and fault-tolerant, not private.
Everything has started to get connected, and what’s worst, everything has or is starting to collect data. Companies like Google, Amazon or Facebook realized at some point how valuable data really is for the digital world. Databases existed well before these companies came in, but they were not as huge nor connected as they are right now. This collection of data poses two major problems regarding privacy; first, we share a lot of data we want to keep private, and second, we don’t really know where our data is stored and how it is treated.
It is true that most major data collectors are not interested in the photos you shared of your nephew, but that data still needs to be stored somewhere. At the point we are now, most people exchange privacy for a little bit of comfort in their lives. We get a good product, with nice aesthetics, for free, but what’s the downside? That the data we produce, even the data that links us to our physical persona, is no longer in our hands.
Privacy in the Internet age, is then, being in control of our information, because that’s the whole premise of privacy: we share what we want to share, with whom we want, for as long as we want to.
Obviously, a change as big as this is not quick, and if it happens, it will begin slowly (we are seeing the first movements of distrust on certain organizations, and laws like GDPR being created), but if every little step means a more privacy-preserving Internet, then it’s all worth it.
We believe communication is meant to be private, and the data being shared should be protected. Thus, we are developing the technology to allow people to take control of their data, as well as securing their communications, because at the end of the day security and privacy are very related (and if your app is hacked, it doesn’t matter if you are in control of your data or not). Secure, private and unstoppable communication for everyone anywhere in the world.
Excited for what’s coming,
Skrumble Network is a completely new, innovative blockchain and application that centers on creating the most secure connections for communication possible. It will be a blockchain uniquely optimized for secure communication-centric connections and transactions, a decentralized social media communication application, and a communication layer for developers to build into any application. With no middle entity or centralized server host in between to censor, block or manipulate any data, Skrumble Network’s blockchain and application will be a catalyst for data privacy and help to truly democratize communication on a global scale.
Learn more about Skrumble Network by visiting Skrumble.network.