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| December 12, 2018

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai says yes to privacy laws, no to political bias and maybe to China

December 12, 2018 |

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, in his long-awaited appearance on Capitol Hill, told lawmakers Tuesday that his company’s search engine had no bias against conservatives. He also said the tech giant had no current plans to introduce a censored search engine in China, but he wouldn’t rule…


L.A. Times – Business

Brexit Upends British Political System

December 10, 2018 |

Brexit has turned Britain’s top-down political system on its head, with Prime Minister Theresa May in thrall to a fragmented parliament as she seeks to ratify a hard-won divorce agreement from the European Union.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

Political Decentralization: Freeing the Internet From Monopolists With Crypto-Tech

December 5, 2018 |

This piece on political decentralization was written by Jonas Sevel Karlberg. Karlberg advises several prominent projects and is a co-founder of the Nordic Blockchain Association. He is also the founder and CEO of AmaZix.

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The internet was born from an ideal for information to be shared by all, with all, and was seen as the archetypal decentralized system. Today, however, commercialization by monopolistic and powerful actors has created a system in which we are shown information paid for by the highest bidders, and can only access what the wealthy and powerful permit. Giant tech companies, big businesses, and even governments now act as sentries who not only control what we can do, but have unprecedented capabilities to watch us do it.

Also read: Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary

This is not how it should be, and it doesn’t have to remain this way. Blockchain and crypto technologies, built on a commitment to achieve democratization and decentralization, offer a solution that could bring down the concentrations of power that currently govern the internet.

A Tarnished Ideal

In its genesis, the internet was a system owned by no one and everyone at the same time. This was a key reason behind its exponential growth — anyone, from anywhere, could create content and share it with the world. In that “Wild West,” neither governmental nor business forces were able to control or restrict the web, its users, or the information on it.

However, while the internet remains physically decentralized, it now depends on large, centralized services to support its critical components, such as web hosting, cloud computing, DNS services, social media, search engines and email services.

Arguably, Google Chrome is among the most popular web browsers in the world — Android smartphones, coupled with the ubiquitous Google Suite, all combine to give Google hegemony over the internet. Indeed, Mozilla’s Internet Health Report 2018 shows that more than 90 percent of internet users use Google Search. Other large companies have a similar presence in other areas, with Amazon dominating cloud storage and Facebook grasping hold of social networking. Part of the reason why these global giants are in this position is their unprecedented ability to observe what people do on the internet, and exploit that information for their own commercial and financial gain.

More sinister is the ability to determine and restrict what consumers can see and consume — search results are prioritized by advertising revenue and filtered by location and government, subtly concealing advertising based on consumer behaviors and demographics. Accuracy, fairness and relevance of information are abandoned in favor of popularity, price and commercial value.

By all means, this betrays the ideals upon which the internet was built. Everything we do is only by the permission of some central entity. Want to buy something online? You can, but only if your bank or payment processor pays the merchant on your behalf. Want to say hello to a friend halfway across the world? Sure, but only if Facebook relays the message for you.

Taking Back Control

First, we must make an important distinction between architectural and political decentralization. The former refers to the number of computers that make up a system, while the latter concerns how many individuals or organizations ultimately control that system. Blockchain and crypto technologies employ both to take control of information away from giant, despotic tech companies and put it back in the hands of users.

In a decentralized system, the internet is a community of users and a network of independent machines that power and host information. This not only removes central hands from the levers of control, but also makes systems more resilient to failures and hacks, while ensuring that there is no element of vulnerability.

Crypto tools already decentralize money transactions, among other things, and will be vital in the creation of a sustainable decentralized internet. They enable decentralized web hosting, while protecting against DDoS attacks by replacing centralized servers with thousands of nodes, each of which constitutes a small part of the website. This is the basis of architectural decentralization, and is a change that must occur, especially given recent notable data breaches.

This in turn enables political decentralization — handing back control of information to users. Distributed ledgers at the heart of blockchain not only protect against data breaches, but prevent companies that store information from using it for their commercial benefit, sharing it with governments, or selling it to third parties without user consent. By storing data across a distributed network, blockchain makes sure that individuals retain ownership of their information. Individuals have a right to own and, if they see fit, keep their information private and determine how it can be used.

A Challenging but Achievable Reality

Decentralization is the way forward, but there are undoubtedly several challenges facing the development of crypto-tech that must be solved if its transformative potential is to be realized.

Scalability is the most significant issue currently facing blockchain systems, and it is limiting mainstream adoption of the technology. Increasing privacy is also vital if user data and information are to be properly protected, given that crypto systems currently rely on pseudonymity, rather than anonymity.

Meanwhile, the biggest hurdle to be overcome is the sluggish adoption of, and familiarity with, the underlying technology. For a decentralized internet to re-emerge, users beyond the blockchain and crypto communities must engage with and support it, without being held back by a misconceived and cynical perception of blockchain.

Nevertheless, centralization cannot sustain society, and the decentralization revolution that has been quietly underway — for longer than you might think – is about to be turbocharged by decentralized technologies. The cryptosphere is bound by its unique ability for communitarian development and a common belief in using technology for the improvement of society. If anyone can make the decentralized ideal a reality, the crypto community can.

Is cryptocurrency-based disruption unavoidable? Do you think we will be able to use encrypted technologies to take back control? How long will it take until the major tech companies no longer control our ability to interact and transfer information online? 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

The post Political Decentralization: Freeing the Internet From Monopolists With Crypto-Tech appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Laura Ingraham: George Bush would have wanted us to remember him without the usual political snark and slander

December 4, 2018 |

At a time like this when a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and a former president has died, we should be bigger than the petty politics of the moment.
FOX News

Rosenstein Targets ICOs, FEC May Permit Political Donations Through Crypto Mining

November 23, 2018 |

Rosenstein Targets ICOs, FEC May Permit Political Donations Through Crypto Mining

In recent regulatory news, the U.S. deputy attorney general has called for international cooperation on cryptocurrency regulation. Separately, the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) has prepared a draft advisory that could allow political donations in the form of mining power, while the Alabama Securities Commission has estimated that the state has brought forward 20 percent of all active cease-and-desist orders against crypto companies in the U.S.

Also Read: Spain Monitors 15,000 Cryptocurrency Investors to Curb Tax Evasion

US Department of Justice Takes Aim at Crypto

While speaking at Interpol’s 87th General Assembly, Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general, called for international cooperation on cryptocurrency regulation. Rosenstein implored regulators to “work together to make clear that the rule of law can reach the entire blockchain.” He also issued a call to prevent cryptocurrencies from being “abused by criminals, terrorist financiers or sanctions evaders.”

In addition, Rosenstein took specific aim at initial coin offerings. He stated that “fraudsters use the lure of coin offerings and the promise of new currencies to bilk unsuspecting investors, promote scams and engage in market manipulation.”

US FEC Paves Way for Campaign Donations via Mining

The U.S. Federal Election Commission has prepared a draft advisory that describes political campaign donations through cryptocurrency mining as “permissible.” The document is a response to a proposal submitted by Osianetwork LLC on Nov. 13 that questioned whether individuals would be permitted to support political committees by devoting computing power to the mining of virtual currencies.

The commission adds that such donations would “not fall within the volunteer internet activities exception, and would result in contributions from both the individuals and the Osianetwork to the participating political committees.” The FEC is scheduled to vote on the matter on Dec. 19, 2018.

US Litigator Notes Role of States in Regulating Crypto

Greg Bordenkircher, the chief litigator of the Alabama Securities Commission, has estimated that the state of Alabama accounts for “about 20 percent of all the active cease-and-desists” in the U.S. He stated that the commission has issued nine orders to shut down the operations of companies that have advertised fraudulent cryptocurrency products. He added that it is currently looking at another 20 to 22 companies that it may shut down.

Bordenkircher also emphasized the need for state regulators to take an active role in regulating the cryptocurrency sector. He said that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission do “a great job, but the states have really got the boots on the ground. There’s more of us than there are of them.”

What is your response to the prospect of political donations in the form of mining? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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The post Rosenstein Targets ICOs, FEC May Permit Political Donations Through Crypto Mining appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

TMZ

Ben Shapiro Says Pete Davidson/Dan Crenshaw on ‘SNL’ Best Political Moment in Years

November 12, 2018 |

Conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro says Pete Davidson’s apology to Dan Crenshaw was the best political moment he’s seen in years … because it shows a level of civility that has been forgotten in America. We got Ben Sunday at LAX, and he…

TMZ.com

CNN

Trump jets to Paris, leaving political tumult behind

November 9, 2018 |

Sullen and combative after an electoral humbling, President Donald Trump jets Friday to Paris, hoping to use the global stage to restore some standing as he faces a tumultuous political future at home.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

Demise of Germany’s Political Mainstream Has a Surprise Winner: a Pro-Migrant Party

November 2, 2018 |

In Germany, it isn’t just right-wing populists that are getting a boost from disenchantment with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. There is another winner: the Greens.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

‘Broad City’ star Ilana Glazer’s political event canceled after vandals write ‘kill all Jews’ inside synagogue

November 2, 2018 |

A political event hosted by the “Broad City” star was canceled after vandals wrote ‘kill all Jews’ inside the Brooklyn synagogue
FOX News

CNN

Mexico walks political tightrope over migrants moving north

October 31, 2018 |

A week and a half after their arrival at the Guatemala-Mexico border, thousands of migrants from Central America are still slowly moving north.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – Regions – Americas