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Thread: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

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    Switzerland Avalon Member
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    Lightbulb Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Dear Avalon community,

    As we ease out of the Easter holiday please let me share an open discussion topic for your consideration and a network query please.

    Through my life I have dug deep and wide into the science of computing as a passion and profession.

    Through that time, I find it mind boggling how much we have come to use and depend on the internet for social interaction today in such a short span, it reaches into all aspects of our communication and coordination and documentation for professional things, and then in our private lives we do all communication digitally too, and then our vacation planning, and all our bookings, and then formal things like legal and medical go through it too. I could go on and on.

    Finally our children use the internet for everything too, and we keep our social networks posting the schedules of our lives . . .


    At the same time, the privacy aspect of using the internet simply could not possibly be any worse.

    All users' interaction with the internet and with others using the internet goes through a middleman who acts as a so-called "trusted facilitator", such as, say, Facebook or Google Mail. The middleman always gets a copy of the entire interaction, and can do whatever he wants with it as long as he wants, and in all ways owns the content of your interaction with the internet. I find this unacceptable; an issue of tremendous concern, an Orwellian manifestation our earlier generation warned us about . . . and now, voila, here it is.

    This came to be a reality for a variety of reasons but include the "good business" argument of money and power, but also because it was the best science at hand. Luckily the factors that underpin this disturbing reality are still reversible and the science has actually grown apace offering us some relief.

    My hope is to see an internet with a warmer humanity and a safer more reaffirming digital experience.

    This has been on my mind for a long time and I wanted to share it with others as a general topic. I leave this thread to ask for other's input on how they see internet privacy and decentralization. I would appreciate your thoughts and perspectives on it and if it's of concern to you please share your opinion.


    Related project seeks experienced philanthropists.

    Letter (2 A4 pages): http://www.asterisk.fyi/2020-04-11_-...ic_Funding.pdf

    Appendix (3 A4 pages): http://www.asterisk.fyi/2020-04-11_-...-_Appendix.pdf
    Last edited by Gracy May; 14th April 2020 at 14:13.

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    Ayt (19th April 2020), Bill Ryan (14th April 2020), ClearWater (14th April 2020), Denise/Dizi (15th April 2020), fractal being (19th April 2020), gord (14th April 2020), Ioneo (14th April 2020), Keyholder (20th April 2020), Sadieblue (15th April 2020), tessfreq (17th April 2020)

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    Switzerland Avalon Member
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    Thumbs up Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Thank you Bill, Gracy, Denise, EFO, ClearWater, gord, fractal being, moonlight, Franny, gord, Ioeno.

    Your welcome means incredibly much.


    About this work, the best conversation format is probably one driven by your questions. fractal being and Franny sent something, will dig in soon.

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    Default Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Quote Posted by fractal being (here)
    Is this for real?
    It is for real yes.

    I should specify that closer: Making technology in general and of this kind in particular needs incredible focus by more people, for a long time.

    Where we are at now is, we are a small team with a circle of advisors, and we have taken the R&D to a critical point of having explored the problem space both technologically and humanly. We have a very precise idea of what we are doing, and backed by decades of intimate experience. The human values side of the work, you see expressed quite comprehensively in the letter and appendix.

    In other words we are in the process and knowing that with the right circumstances we will reach there. Some factors are beyond our immediate control, like learning to know the right philanthropist(s) so we can cover expenses, and growing the team a bit for the work to speed up, these things contain elements of uncertainty, a certain dependence on synchronisms.

    Real in the sense of being available for your phone in the appstore, ready for you to bring it into your life and with friends, is later. I expect we'll have apps starting become available for the general public about 14-16 months after we receive more resources for the work. 14-16 months is a narrow timeframe, a person who joins the team must be between jobs or convinced to leave his other job. After starting it takes time to get productive. I guess a good software team is like a good music band, in that it's signified by good flow and rapport.

    I trust this work's objective is in some sense self-manifesting, it is a thought form among humans that wants to manifest: we like the smartphones and laptops and the ability to interact remotely, but we don't like the death of privacy and the online middlemen's other games of power, attention stealing, and so on. Me, people I meet and very many people across the world are constantly engaged in actively identifying and not-using, opting out from services that are known to be particularly lacking of dignity. Privacy preservation is a common regular habit.

    As for me I let the objective be a passion and I give all my working time to it. I trust the work will get to fruition.

    The "is it real" question begs another question which is, why has this not been done before. I have some insight to share in that respect. Feel free to ask away..


    Quote Posted by fractal being (here)
    Could you care to elaborate more on your vision ... very good to be true .. request for money .. very vague specifications
    The challenge that prompted us to write and publish this letter, is the challenge of opening up to the public without opening up to the public.

    The biggest need we have to open up is, to flag the values of this work clearly, so that if there are any persons out there whose attention and involvement the work should have, then, we will get in touch and partner.

    There are some persons out there who have positive concern for humanity. Meanwhile, there are also persons who are exclusively about self-gratification but who play a charade of being caring or generous. Right now our team needed this explorative networking process to speed up significantly, where we find the way and don't loose valuable time.

    Further equally importantly (and in the big scheme of things, more importantly), there is a need to open up to get in rapport with the real people to whom this is utility.

    And similarly, to talk about these realities of privacy, dignity, sovereignty online which many feel are pushing topics.

    The force to not open up are about that the work is so early that as of today's date we don't have organization structure and administration in place and we know that we need to up the resources a bit to accomplish the goals. This is in a context where we know that many actors exist who are either less or not at all driven by ethics, and every public word can be absorbed into such an actor's charades, which ultimately means disadvantage for the general public. An unethical actor will sometimes in its way level an industry or genre to the ground through aggressive publicity.

    This is also why the letter deliberately not touches on several topics, which you very correctly observed.

    With these clarifications please feel free to share any more questions you have.


    Quote Posted by fractal being (here)
    1st of June. What will happen after that?
    We put the "please don't share this document after 1 June 2020" in the appendix simply because there will be a point when it is not up to date anymore. The work will be in another phase, some things will have been accomplished and there will be all kinds of updates.


    Quote Posted by fractal being (here)
    Well myself I'm on a very limited budget, so I wouldn't be of much help, but I wish you the best and sincerely hope that this is for real.
    First thank you for thinking the thought of contributing. Obviously by no means should you contribute that way. Today I think your great contribution was to pick up the conversation.

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    Default Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Quote Posted by Denise/Dizi (here)
    Privacy seems to be the one thing people are giving up, without hesitation... For the comforts of new technology. It is quite the pickle isn't it?

    While many would say they have nothing to hide.. They're good with their activities being known, as they feel confident it won't affect them... It does, when the technology is geared not only to track them, and their habits, but also to direct them towards someone else's idea of what they should believe.. And it has been happening on a massive scale.
    Right.

    Privacy-negative technologies used to be the state of the art science, centralization was all there was.

    I imagine this is a historical bias for why as you say people give up privacy with such ease.

    State of the art science has changed last couple of years luckily and that is why our team can do this.


    There is money to be made for online businesses in value extraction from people's private information. The allure of that business model will remain (for business owners and their marketing teams..), however with the maturation of better alternatives that have dignity and uphold human rights, I believe many will get aware and there will be traction to better options.

    One of the worse possible outcomes of surveillance capitalism, is the society becoming a literal prision where you can say and do nothing without the approval of the middlemen, that is an Orwellian state, or the Biblical last days, a society where any participation is permissioned. People's karma is overall way better than that though and such attempts would be illegal, a transgression.


    Quote Posted by Denise/Dizi (here)
    While I see this as a worthwhile cause, as we all need our privacy.. I am a bit doubtful now is the best time to be receiving a large amount of financial support for your ventures. Given everyone around the world is, for the most part? Being asked to shelter in place. Eventually there will come a point where people begin to hold onto their funds when they see no end in sight... "Just in case"..
    I agree today is stressful and hard for many and I sympathize deeply. This is the case for many but not at all for all.

    This period is also a moment when awareness has increased. People ask what's really important personally and widely and how things should work.

    Raising this conversation now while the west is in crisis was coincidental.


    Quote Posted by Denise/Dizi (here)
    I do hope that .. your efforts are both fruitful, and successful. .. I wish you luck...
    Thank you

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    UK Avalon Member Mike Gorman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Business has always used social research, and demographic data, even a market stall operator knows which people to hawk to, which to allow to pass.
    The internet is nothing more than the collective connection of private networks, TCP/IP is a means for non-compatible technologies to operate collectively.
    It was the WWW that enabled collective sharing of information, basically this is a document management system that allowed CERN people to work more efficiently, but of course it was the 'printing press' written very large, it belongs to you and I.

    Social media is nothing more than a social mirror, of itself, it produces nothing, we all scribble on the vast public toilet wall of social media. Privacy, what does this mean-anonymity? Since when has human society been private, it is by definition a collective experience. Privacy is not the point, None of us are ever compelled to participate with internet projects, freedom of expression and the right of free association are more important subjects to defend. No offence intended.

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    Default Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Hi Mike!

    Thank you for picking up the conversation. Your post was quite a read and needed me to reflect a bit.

    Asterisk is about offering an alternative to the trusted middleman model of the internet that is the status quo today, and which is a form of digital feudalism and digital slavery.

    The trusted middleman consumes both your privacy, and your anonymity (as relevant-desired), and your freedom of expression, and your freedom of association. This is also why Asterisk is important work.

    Your representation of the World Wide Web is correct but describes an earlier era. Asterisk is a cure for the current era.

    Relative to the letter, your comment does not read to me like it makes sense or correlates, and I therefore get the impression that you have not read the letter, maybe not even opened it. A person with whom I discussed your comment responded, "Does he work for google, facebook or online marketing company?", I guess this was his way to express that he felt very uncertain about what you were trying to convey with your comment.

    If you came to this conversation because you're actually interested, then please actually read the letter. Then, please share your fresh reflections and I will love to take them on.

    I believe your comment reflects the stance and feeling about this topic as is held by many e.g. no-care or no-sense about the privacy theme, so I thank you for that you did take time to articulate this.

    Asterisk
    Last edited by asterisk; 19th April 2020 at 16:14.

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Privacy and self-sovereignty on internet

    Quote Posted by asterisk (here)
    Thank you Bill, Gracy, Denise, EFO, ClearWater, gord, fractal being, moonlight, Franny, gord, Ioeno.

    Your welcome means incredibly much.
    Well, I thanked your post out of courtesy. Not to agree with or endorse anything.

    Quote Posted by asterisk (here)
    Hi Mike!
    [ ... ]
    I therefore get the impression that you have not read the letter, maybe not even opened it.
    I hadn't either, so I did. At the end of the second PDF is your budget, which is really a funding request. You're looking for well over a million dollars.



    ~~~

    The problems here are several.

    1) I doubt if anyone here has that kind of money. (If you do, please send a little over this way! We need a few $$ to solve our software upgrade and Avalon server challenges. )

    2) We can't create a precedent by using Avalon as a funding platform for projects, no matter how laudable. We simply can't.

    A moment's thought by anyone would enable one to see that we'd soon have a hundred competing fundraisers going — including for hard times experienced by Avalon members themselves, especially during this time (there are several Avalon members I know who can barely afford to buy food and supplies).

    There are one or two exceptions — like Sierra's house burning down and losing everything she owned, or Hervé being seriously ill in hospital — but these are very rare.

    3) The best bet is for you to set up a GoFundMe account and promote in on large public platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And/or make a 3 minute YouTube presentation. But here, we just can't do that. Your intentions are impeccable, and you're a model of patient courtesy, but I'm sure you can see why.

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