Blockchain technology and decentralisation continue to prove to the world that people’s interests are of the highest priority
Internet security continues to be a major area of concern for users all over the world. During the first half of 2018, digital security specialist Gemalto revealed that 944 data breaches had taken place. These breaches led to an overwhelming 3.3 billion data records being compromised worldwide.
While the number of breaches on an annual basis had gone down, the number of records compromised had gone up by 133 percent. No company or organisation can be considered safe from these data breaches. Major companies like Adidas were heavily hit by cyberattacks, with 2 million records being compromised. The global healthcare sector experienced security infiltrations of its own, putting the lives of patients at risk.
While these data breaches appear to be the most prevalent forms of online network security threats, there is an even more sinister type that took the world by storm.
The Facebook Scandal That Rocked the World
Earlier in 2018 social media giant Facebook was involved in a scandal that saw its CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg summoned to testify before the U.S. Congress. It was discovered that the personal information of an estimated 87 million Facebook users were sold to a consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica. Controversy arose when it was found that this was the same consulting firm that President Trump hired during his presidential campaign.
The information was accessed through a viral quiz app that was run on Facebook. The quiz app appeared to be harmless, requesting the personal information of users the way any other third-party application would. But not only did the firm manage to access the users’ information, they also acquired information from the users’ Facebook friends through a loophole in Facebook’s Application Program Interface (API). Although Facebook’s policy dictates that users’ personal data should not be sold, the data collected by Cambridge Analytica was sold anyway.
Users have grown to have little to no trust in the privacy of their data, as the platforms they trust continue to show little regard for the privacy needs of the average user.
The Case of Google
Google is one of the best companies in the world at collecting user data. Google also runs a well-known service called AdSense which allows website owners to generate revenue by letting Google place ads on their sites. From the user’s point of view, this means that his internet activity/movement can become traceable.
The Google Ads Preferences Manager service makes it possible for its users to check which customer interest categories they are put into based on their website visits, and they are also able to opt out of this categorisation. However, many users do not have knowledge of this function. Therefore, their internet footprint continues to be tracked, leaving them in an extremely vulnerable position. Opting out of ads is very complex, especially for inexperienced users.
Many users are unaware of the fact that these identifiers given to the search engine providers voluntarily can easily be correlated with their search queries conducted while they are logged into other accounts, such as email (their e.g. email account). While some advanced users are able to use apps such as Adblock software to remove ads and this tracking feature, many websites have become savvier. Users are now forced to disable their Ad blocking software before being able to access a site.
Blockchain as a Solution
Blockchain technology can offer an ideal solution to the current problems with internet protection and data privacy. Blockchain technology serves as a sophisticated encrypted ledger that converts stored information into digital assets.
An example of a company working on a comprehensive solution to the user’s internet problem is Honeypod.
The device is a smart hardware unit that connects to your router to remove ads and tracking systems from all of your devices and to secure your online payments while also rewarding you to browse the web. The aim is to free users from the confines of being tracked and having their data used without their active consent.