Tuesday, January 31, 2023

On Facebook: To Get Privacy Done, We Need Blockchain

On Facebook: To Get Privacy Done, We Need Blockchain

Facebook could make near-total privacy the default for users, though don’t hold your breath. And leadership at the Silicon Valley powerhouse has commented that the recent uproar over privacy won’t affect the company’s margins by much, suggesting it’s more or less business as usual going forward. So as it pertains to the blockchain space, Facebook’s digging in as the poster child for why if you need privacy done, you’ve gotta do it yourself.

Also see: Bitcoin Price Testing Different Patterns, Trying to Break Resistance at a Tough Level

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Decentralize Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace

Via blockchain, having information control and privacy can, and should be, the default option. Bitcoin itself has several privacy developments currently in the works, from Confidential Transactions to Bulletproofs. Ethereum has zk-Snarks coming along.

Crypto plays like these can have entire service ecosystems atop them — think DApps and LApps — that can thus have privacy defaulted as the norm going forward.

The kind of caked-in privacy that Facebook, to date, won’t default of course.

As former Mark Zuckerberg speechwriter Kate Losse recently put it:

“Facebook doesn’t seem to have woken up to this moral quandary, at least in a way that is visible to the world watching.”

Accordingly, it’s time for the ecosystem to take its “don’t trust, self-verify” esprit de corps and turn it into an all-out cri de guerre to pile on, as it were, while Facebook’s treading furor. Because privacy, or a lack thereof, can and will be taken advantage of otherwise.

Money Talks

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal fallout, wherein Facebook was exposed as allowing users’ most private information to be leveraged for propagandistic, micro-targeted electioneering, the episode’s taking on the contours of a case study as to why privacy should be guaranteed — not left to the whims of centralized institutions.

And whims are oftentimes much more than whims. They certainly are in Facebook’s case.

Facebook’s earnings over the past several years.

In other words, Facebook’s revenues have exploded over the past five years as more and more companies have bought private profile information from the site for the purposes of advertising.

“[I]t’s untrue to suggest we didn’t or don’t care about privacy. The facts tell a different story,” Facebook argued in a blog post from late last year. But it’s not about taking Facebook’s word for it.

It’s about minimizing trust through software from here on out. Because vested interests will always resist privacy if the business of selling personal data is booming.

What’s your take? Do you think we have to take privacy into our own hands when it comes to the blockchain boom? Sound off in the comments below. 

Images via Tech Republic, Statista

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