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Do you want a safe, secure and free Internet, widely available for all? by@suriana

Do you want a safe, secure and free Internet, widely available for all?

Suriana Hacker Noon profile picture

Suriana

Cryptoenthusiast

What is the SAFE Network and why you should care.

This article will attempt to give an overview on the broken Internet of today, and the solution to a better one, which might lie with the Maidsafe team and the fruits of 11 years of development.

Yes, 11 years. That might seem like dinosaur age in the cryptospace. The fact is though, cryptographic research utilized for improvement of computer networks have been in place for decades. For us regular folks this fascinating field has stepped more into the limelight the last couple of years thanks to the big brother of cryptography, Bitcoin. But the quiet little brother Maidsafe was right up there next to Bitcoin in the mid 2000s with a vision of a decentralized network and has been silently building what might be the most secure and promising technology for Web 3.0 we have seen so far.

The impatient might say 11yrs…that’s sooo long. But how long does it take to build a better and safer Internet? The Internet that we all fell in love with and embrace today took almost 30 years to take shape and today it’s in a really, really bad state.

The horrific state of Internet today

The Internet we use today is broken. Hackers, cybercriminals, state intelligence operations, mass surveillance and other prying forces are ravaging through the Internet with attacks, viruses, malware and interceptions, creating an unsafe and scary environment for all users.

The black market of ID-theft for example is insanely huge, the 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion. And that is just America.

How about the stealing and selling of your personal data as a business? 
Most people probably have heard the word big data but have no idea that data brokers exists and idea of just how huge the industry is. 2012 numbers show an industry size of 156 billion, we can surely conclude that today that number probaly has passed 200 billion. 
The secretive data brokarage firms scoop up everything possibly imaginable of internet users personal information and auction it off to the highest bidder without the knowing and saying of the users. Newsweek outlines the landscape of the commercilization of personal data and concludes with:

“Third, and most disturbing, there’s nothing consumers can do about any of this. They don’t know what data is being collected, or by whom. They don’t know what’s being done with it. They don’t know where it is going. They probably imagine specific lists being sent around, not calculated scores that may seem unrelated to the original data. And if they are concerned, there’s no way to see or correct the information about themselves being passed around. “

For consumer and businesses alike the Internet has never been a more dangerous place. DDoS attacks for example could cost a enterprise an average of 2,5million USD not if, but when they get targeted. According to a trend report made by Neustar 84% of enterprise companies participating in the survey had fallen a victim of DDoS attacks in the last 12 months.

2016 numbers showed that ransomware attacks had risen by 600%, costing businesses 1 billion USD, courtesy of NASA and CIA. The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimate the cost of cybercrime and economic espionage to be more than 445 billion. A huge chunk of that is due to theft of intellectual property by foreign goverments with US and China as main actors, both pointing fingers at each other accusing the other of being the perpetrator.

Speaking of goverments, let’s take the thermometer of how Free speech is doing. State censorship on the internet is unimaginably prevalent. According to Freedom House 2/3 of world internet users live under goverment censorship and the supression of speech and thought is continuously increasing. Only 13% of the worlds population have access to a Free Press. Just take that in for a moment. 13%.

But what about self-censorship?
More reports are coming out of how the living room of the web, the social media platforms, is nurturing a phenomenon known as the ‘spiral of silence’ — a term coined in the mid-70s to describe how individuals supress their own views if they believe they differ from those of family, friends, work colleagues and broader society. An article from The Atlantic reveals just how widespread self-censorship is.

“But now, new research based on a sample of 3.9 million Facebook users reveals precisely how widespread this activity is. Carnegie Mellon PhD student Sauvik Das and Facebook’s Adam Kramer measured how many people typed more than five characters into Facebook content-input boxes, but then did not post them. They term this “last-minute self-censorship.” The numbers are impressively large. Fully one-third of all Facebook posts were self-censored, according to the method Das and Kramer devised, though they warn they probably captured a substantial number of false positives. 71 percent of all the users surveyed engaged in some self-censorship either on new posts or in comments, and the median self-censorer did so multiple times.”

That is a dangerous evolvement. When we fear structural authorities to the point that we start silencing ourselves, we, as a free society, are in deep shit.

What made Internet so amazing and appealing was the ability of people worldwide to connect and express themselves. But freedom of speech is under threat and censorship is increasing exponentially as governments and corporations desperately grasp for power. As Forbes writer Kalev Leetaru eloquently asks:

“What will happen to the web as it matures from a free for all flag bearer of free speech to a moderated commercial enterprise?”

If you have wondered the same and care about a free web, keep reading.

So what exactly is the SAFE Network and how does it work?

SAFE stands for Secure Access For Everyone and that is exactly what the Maidsafe team has devoted the last decade to. Creating a Internet that allows for people to express themselves freely, without the fear of censorship and malicious actors. An Internet where you own your own data and the power of choosing who you wish to share it with is in your hands.

An Internet that’s free for all to use and most of all, is a safer place to be.

Ephi Blanshey has done an excellent job and is much better than me in detailing the workings of the SAFE Network with Introduction to Maidsafe, what it is, how it works and how it compares to bitcoin.

For a technical understanding, please read the above and check the video before proceeding.

The developers of Maidsafe primarly had 7 goals in mind when embarking on this mammoth project called the SAFE Network.

  1. Creating a safe web where nobody owns your data but YOU.
  2. Constructing a network that is decentralized and resilient to attacks with no single point of failure.
  3. Imagining the impossible. A serverless web eliminating the central point of failure via ultimate decentralization and in effect making DDoS, hacking attacks, data theft or government seisures virtually impossible.
  4. Maximizing secure private file storage by encrypting and shredding the data into tiny pieces spread worldwide, allowing for a safer way of storing data by reduntantly spreading it out to thousands of locations around the world.
  5. Most of these things can not be achieved without privacy being fundamental to the network versus being an afterthought, which commonly is the case.
  6. Making good use of existing resourses in a sustainable fashion. Contrary to the blockchain technology, SAFE Network does NOT need more hardware capacity. It simply thrives with the existing resources, which is the users free disk space. No expensive mining equipment necessary and no risk for centralization.
  7. Easy entrance globally to use and participate in the network, with minimum costs. Free and accessible for all basically.
“Most of what can be done with the current internet can be done with MaidSafe. 
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn-type social websites can be built upon MaidSafe, as can real-time communication (chat/email), e-commerce stores (eBay/Amazon), media/streaming (YouTube/Twitch), news (CNN), mobile/desktop apps, and anything else you can think of. The MaidSafe network inherently provides the decentralized database, authentication system (logging in/out of apps), and security system (automatically encrypting data at rest and in transit).”
-Ephi Blanshey

Great, huh? So let’s break it down in simple terms how the network is designed to function from a user perspective.

  • You log into the network by pulling up a page that looks like a web browser. It’s pretty much like a dashboard, opening up the safenetwork to you with a few simple clicks.
  • Once logged in you’re on the SAFE web and absolutely everything you do is encrypted end-to-end. With the Authenticator function you can authenticate ALL your apps with just one password which means that your private credentials are never passed to the authorised apps.
  • Users can read and store any kind of information in a fully decentralized fashion. There are no centralized hosts, no prying eyes and no way for any actor to access your data or activity on the internet. Read, share, comment and contribute as you wish ,with full privacy.
  • The network is economically incentivized with an inherent token named Safecoin. Simply earn coins by renting out your harddisk space as storage for the network, called farming. Farmers earn safecoins by providing computational power to the network and best of all is that no expensive equipment is necessary, anyone with a decent computer can join in. The more reliable and consistent farmer, the higher the farmer ranks. The higher the ranking, the higher the earning. Win-win.

Oh, and last but not least. Application developers, called Builders, earn safecoin in proportion to how much their applications are used, leaving room for great earning opportunities. Some developers have already gotten started, and if you wanna test the waters go ahead and check out SAFE Network Apps.

The Internet is broken and completely ripe for disruption and innovation.
And with all faulty and monopolilized power structures, they always fall. 
How wonderful to be alive today, witnessing the inevitable fall and being a part of a healthier creation.

Free Internet-bring it!!

Like what you see so far and want to be a part of it? Head on over to maidsafe.net for more!

Thanks for your time and see you soon on the free internet☺

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