Why Your Online Privacy and Security is Under Threat — Blockchain Is Here to Change That 0 596

Privacy has always been important. It’s just human nature to want to protect our secrets and most personal information. In the online world, our online privacy and security is especially important, because the information we share there is available globally. If our sensitive online data is compromised, it could fall into the hands of literally anyone.

For these reasons and more, 59% of internet users worry about their personal info being stolen. For most of us, it’s important to have control over which companies can access and use our data, and we like to imagine they’ll be responsible custodians of it.

It’s no surprise, then, that the recent scandals surrounding the misuse of customer data by big companies like Facebook have caused such a storm.

Rumors about dubious data protection practices have been around for years, but it’s only now that the full extent of Facebook’s negligence is coming to light.

Nobody is sure what will happen as a result, but it’s a safe bet that Facebook will continue to use our data pretty extensively. That’s because it’s a huge money-spinner for them.

Why is our data so valuable

When we use sites like Facebook and Google, we essentially surrender control of our data. All the information we share and post using the platforms belongs to them.

That includes information about what we tend to search for, our interests, how we spend our time, and much more.

It’s extremely valuable to these companies because they work closely with advertisers to help them target ads at the right people. It makes sense: advertisers are likely to have much more success when they aim their ads at people who are already somewhat interested in their products.

This makes data an incredibly powerful resource for these platforms. It helps make them billions in ad revenue and keeps them at the top of their respective games.

It can be considered an invasion of privacy, and an intrusion into users’ personal affairs, but at least the platforms are upfront about their activities in this area.

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, however, revealed a whole new layer of shady behavior. It turns out that Facebook had allowed a third-party political consulting firm to access the data of millions of their users.

This data was then used in political campaigns to influence votes. That’s a problem because none of the users had directly consented to their personal data being used this way.

Since the scandal broke, Facebook and similar platforms have come under heavy scrutiny about their ethics when it comes to our data.

It’s pretty unlikely that these tech giants will cease to exist, or even take a significant hit. But their reputations have suffered. In a recent survey, 40% of people said they were ‘concerned’ about how Facebook used their personal data, and another 44% were ‘very concerned’.

It boils down to the widely shared belief that privacy is a right. People seem to agree – quite passionately – that their privacy and security matter more than the profits of a tech company.

The result of all this controversy is that people want a change. There’s a big desire building for a new system where the privacy and security of our personal data is respected and assured.

It’s possible that the solution could be blockchain technology.

The blockchain approach

Blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is well-suited to building systems with privacy and security at the forefront.

The technology is by nature decentralized, transparent, secure, and anonymous. For these reasons, it has the potential to shift the balance of power in the online world.

By using blockchain responsibly to build new systems for handling data, it’ll be possible to move power away from established centralized platforms like Facebook and Google and return control to users.

One of the companies working towards this goal is Kind Ads. Entrepreneur Neil Patel, an advisor for the company, said in an interview with CoinCentral:

“it’s going to change the digital marketing landscape because you’ll be able to cut out the middleman more than anything else, and this industry really needs it.”

The ‘middleman’ here is the all-powerful platforms, the Facebooks, and Googles who dominate the space and require advertisers to work through them. By moving to a more decentralized model, users will be able to work with ad companies directly and decide who gets to access and use their data.

It’s a better model for everyone. Users retain control of their personal data, and advertisers can target people who really want to see their ads.

It’s a new way of doing things, one that ensures more peace of mind for users and a fairer way of handling sensitive data. And it’s sorely needed.

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Founder of Tech Geeks Pakistan and Digital Doers. Hira is also a public speaker and columnist who shares her views on Startups, AI, chatbots and Blockchain technology on VentureBeat, The Next Web and Tech In Asia.

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ContentBox Launches on Chinese Exchange Huobi 0 171

ContentBox is utilizing the blockchain in hopes of disrupting the digital content industry.

Relevant content should be easy to find in this technologically-enabled era. However, competition has created white noise that can be hard to penetrate for both creators and content-seekers.

Take podcasts. When we go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud or any other number of apps and search our favorite topics from a phone, tablet or laptop, we expect to find the most relevant results. But, due to convoluted distribution schemes and multiple different platforms, that’s not always the case. What happens, for example, when a podcast isn’t featured on your device’s native app store or podcast app? Or, perhaps it’s only available in the language of the non-English speaking foreign country you may be traveling in (which you might not happen to speak). At this point, it becomes a matter of scarcity: do you risk settling for a diminished digital experience, or worse, diminishing the quality of your trip?

Renee Wang was working in Japan when she realized there were no podcasting platforms that supported multiple languages on the market. She had to download podcasts to MP3 files and piecemeal them into one.  Recognizing the gap, she decided to build a solution.

CastBox was Born

Renee and her co-founder Alex He built CastBox, a discovery app hailed “the Netflix of podcasts,” and an all-in-one solution to the problem with having to hunt down disparate podcast channels, apps, and stations to find the podcasts you want. Replete with foreign language and multi-platform support, as well as personalized recommendation features, CastBox is essentially a blockchain-enabled podcast aggregator that not only allows individuals to discover new podcasts tailored to their interests, but also allows users to see what others are listening to on the app, and personalize their podcast recommendation and search preferences. One of the greatest ways CastBox adds value to users’ podcast experience is through its in-audio search feature: the app transcribes and indexes audio files and then allows users to search for them based off of just one sentence or body of text within it, after which CastBox then shows their search result, in addition to giving contextualized recommendations to similar podcasts.

On July 17, CastBox Launched ContentBox

As Wang and He discovered, the creative landscape for digital content creators is wide and deep, leading to significant and often insurmountable competition. Unfortunately, the profit potential for such creatives is bleak, as a result. In a market where distribution channels take the lion’s share of content creators’ revenues, the blockchain is poised to rebalance the model in the artist’s favor. And that’s where ContentBox comes in.

On July 17th, CastBox launched ContentBox on Huobi Global. The platform is an open-source blockchain infrastructure for creators, a token-based ecosystem comprised of a shared user and content pool along with a unified payment solution. As a decentralized content ecosystem, ContentBox gives users, creators, and companies alike the ability to integrate into it, opening up content channels, monetization, and multi-platform mobilization.

Boasting 18 million users, 3 billion BOX released, and 750 million BOX circulating as of July, ContentBox is now working on scaling its adoption of BOX Passport, a cross-platform identity and attribution gateway; BOX Payout, a borderless and secure payment transaction network; and BOX Unpack, a turn-key content management solution for publishers, to provide even more monetization opportunities for artists and creators.

ContentBox is allowing users to deposit and buy BOX both on its platform as well as on Huobi, which now also accepts BOX deposits, as well as BOX/ETH and BOX/BTC trades on its platform. ContentBox aims to decentralize the digital content industry and tackle its biggest pain points—creator monetization, user incentives, and content ownership—through a unified payout system, a shared content pool, and a shared user pool. ContentBox is the latest and most wide-ranging effort to combat abuses towards artists in the digital production industries, where platforms take the lion’s share of creators’ profits in exchange for distribution rights. ContentBox allows artists to bypass distribution platforms and access users directly, maximizing their profit potential. The release gives creators crypto-incentives for featuring their podcasts on the platform in the form of BOX tokens, which can be traded for ETH and BTC on Huobi Global.

With the release of ContentBox, CastBox further moves to disrupt the digital content production industry with an antagonistic business model that gives value back to creators instead of profiting off of them. There is major support for this: ContentBox is backed by Nirvana Capital, Node Capital, BlockVC, LinkVC, ICONIZ, JRR, and Fenbushi Capital founder Bo Shen. Further, that ContentBox was listed on Huobi at all is validation: only 0.0001% of all crypto projects are listed on this particular exchange. Yet, to definitively change the industry, CastBox will need to reach mass markets to scale platform adoption and reach mass profitability for podcasters using ContentBox, as well as attract key influencers away from top digital content distribution platforms and onto its own. If it can do this, ContentBox could allow CastBox to compete with the top market-dominating podcast apps globally. Keep your eyes open for more news on this continuing development.

Editorial note: this article was updated to correct a typographical error. We previously reported there were 750 billion BOX circulating as of July — that number was updated to reflect the accurate figure: 750 “million.”


What do you think about blockchain vs. tradition digital content distribution platforms? Could these really disrupt today’s digital content industry? Post in the comments below to tell us your opinions!

 

DiscoveryIoT – Introducing the World’s First Blockless DAG IoT Network 0 144

[Birkirkara, Malta, August 12] Looking to disrupt a trillion dollar market, Discovery is setting up an IoT network targeting supply chain businesses. Discovery is set to revolutionize the traditional supply chain network through its innovative solution by bringing together blockchain technology, AI and IoT. The core of the Discovery network is comprised of three layers, the Cliot IoT tag, the user community and the data analytics/Artificial Intelligence engine.  

Cliot is a groundbreaking innovation being carried out at the smallest scale.  It is an IoT tag that utilizes backscatter technology to absorb surrounding electromagnetic waves (Cellular) to power itself up. Being developed at a cost as low as $0.10 per tag, Cliot lends itself to be a highly scalable solution for tracking everyday products. Cliot is being developed to communicate with devices within 30m range. In addition, it can also house a variety of sensors like temperature sensor, accelerometer etc., depending on various purposes.

The user community is a community of smartphone users that have the Discovery application installed on their phones. These smartphones act as nodes in the network with which Cliot communicates and transmits data over WiFi or Bluetooth. The communication automatically takes place without the active involvement of any user once the phone is in Cliot’s vicinity. Once the data is transmitted to the phones, the data is then transferred to the central server via the phone’s cellular network.  

Data analytics forms the third layer wherein the data received from the Cliot is processed using edge computing at the smartphones and sent to the cloud to capture useful insights about the processes in the supply chain. These insights ultimately help in strategizing businesses as well as in maintaining the quality of the products in supply chain. There is also an AI engine built into this layer, to give meaningful and predictive information to clients about their supply chain.

The Utility of Discovery Network

Streamlining supply chain provides businesses an opportunity to improve revenues as well as reduce waste, without having to suffer great amount of revenue loss through stock-outs, stock-obsolescence, untimely delivery, poor product quality, etc. Therefore, in the developed economies where retail is organized, Discovery’s solution provides optimization of businesses by giving access to deep insights from the sales data the network gathers. However, Discovery’s solution has the biggest disruptive potential in the developing economies in Asia and Africa where retail is highly disorganized. It’s almost impossible for clients to access retail data in such markets and the businesses often suffer from issues like stock-outs. Discovery’s network, therefore, has a scope to be a massively successful solution in these markets and its utility can be summarized below:

Low-cost tracking

With the Cliot tag priced at $0.10 and tracking cost as low as $0.04 per product per month, Discovery’s solution is inexpensive compared to the existing solutions available. Being cost effective, the solution can be massively adopted for daily products.

Real-time visibility

Discovery’s solution enables clients to get real-time insight into their stocks and supply chain management. This insight would provide an effective decision-making tool for forming successful business strategies.  

Artificial intelligence

The third layer that forms the Discovery network incorporates AI which enhances the network’s capability by providing clients with predictable and actionable information. This predictive capability can help clients avoid issues like stock-outs while the AI gets smarter as more information is added to Discovery database.

Custom analytics report

The data analytics layer of Discovery can provide clients with customized reports of their sales data according to the unique requirement of each brand.

Customer and retailer relations

As retailers do not receive any direct incentive in sharing sales data, they are likely not motivated to do so. In addition, it is not possible to know the retailer performance without having access to the sales data. With Discovery’s solution, companies do not have to deal with retailers as the products tagged with Cliot transmit relevant data.

Besides the utility that Discovery network allows for clients, the user community who facilitates the network’s expansion is also benefited in the following ways:

Instant rewards

The community members who lend their data to the Discovery’s network are rewarded on a daily basis without any delay.

Passive Income

The network is built such that community members are not required to be actively involved in the data collection from Cliot. The Discovery application only needs to be run in the background which can automatically pair up with Cliot tag as the user is in its vicinity.

Guaranteed security

The data collected through Discovery network is de-granularized and individually identifiable information is not shared, thus ensuring highest level of privacy and security.

Control over the data limit

Discovery provides users an option to configure the data limit according to user preferences in the application and it also allows them to set geographical limitations.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Selvam VMS through selvam.vms (at the rate) discoveryiot.com .

Source: Esthan, a tech PR Firm, and an Official PR partner of DiscoveryIoT

Contact: Sharon Pradhan
Phone: 905-728-5982
Email: sharon@esthan.com

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