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Arvind Narayanan
"Blockchain" here seems to mean "decentralized personal data". We looked at about 80 such projects and concluded that: 1. It's far harder to pull off than it sounds 2. Even if you can get adoption, it's unlikely that decentralization will improve privacy
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Josh Nicholson Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
best email address ever! :) Oh, nice paper too.
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DF (Duane) Hobbs Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Productizing a pain created by ones own previous products. The genius of “moving fast and breaking things” revealed.
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Benny Bitcoin Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
You can bet your boots on that, everytime there is a tech issue we get idiots yelling “Blockchain can fix this!” with no follow through. First of all which Blockchain? People act like “The Blockchain” is some AI superbrain that us crypto guys pray to for help with any issue..smh
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Arvind Narayanan Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Some historical context: we're now in wave 3 of attempts to decentralize personal data. Wave 1 was in the late '90s; the companies called themselves "infomediaries". Does the text below sound like what you've been hearing recently? It's actually from 1999!
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Arvind Narayanan Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Collectively these companies had hundreds of millions of dollars in VC funding, and some had tens of millions of users, such as AllAdvantage: A couple of years later, they were all dead and the whole model forgotten.
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Arvind Narayanan Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Wave 2 of decentralization attempts was in 2009–10, when concerns about Facebook privacy reached a fever pitch (perhaps even more than today). Posts like this one went viral: Literally dozens of decentralized social networks such as Diaspora were launched.
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jim haigh Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
But the collected data didn't die, did it? PII has a half-life longer than Plutonium. Where'd it all go?
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🦉Common Planet Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Correct, we too started an infomediary in 1999 called World Privacy, never had a chance against the assault of online marketing and invasion on our privacies and now we are watching as Fake news pollutes our internet. Here's our next attempt to win
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Arvind Narayanan Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
At that time, we were surprised by the historical ignorance of the tech community, and we wanted to see what we could learn from the failures so that we don't keep repeating our mistakes and reinventing the wheel. That's what lead to our paper.
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Arvind Narayanan Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Welcome to wave 3 of personal data decentralization attempts. There's no evidence that we've learnt from past mistakes. Worse, it looks like all the VC money and ICO money behind "blockchain" is distorting sound thinking.
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Ira Goldman 🦆🦆🦆 Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
From the 1977 report of the Privacy Protection Study Commission (created by the 1974 Privacy Act, signed by Pres. Ford)...
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Kaliya-Identity Woman Apr 2
Are you coming to this week.
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Sam Victor Jermy Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker @mathewi
Not so much about personal data being decentralised, but having a decentralised infrastructure that is by all accounts much more secure than anything seen before- sharing of documents etc. Global shipping industry already getting mass adoption too. See Maersk-IBM joint venture.
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Le Quoc Viet Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
I second that. I can cite GNUnet, Freenet, I2P that have created sophisticated and usable solutions and ignorance of the tech people of the 3rd wave is hindering them to learn from those technologies and give them credit for building decentralisation solutions
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Le Quoc Viet Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
I hate the fact that importance of blockchain is overblown while it’s just a data structure. The difficult parts of DLT are: P2P, peer discovery, routing, DHT, sharding, privacy, consensus, replication, recovery, resistance to Sybil attacks and Eclipse attacks
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Sudha Lakshmi Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Identity seems like a particularly hard problem to solve via decentralization. Isn't it precisely because public blockchains have no easy way to fix online identity that they face the sybil problem, which they must then dispel in roundabout ways (PoW, PoS)?
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Janne M. Korhonen Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker
Historical ignorance in technology is something I'm deeply interested in. Shows repeatedly in many fields; might make a good subject for a broader study or a special issue somewhere. Many thanks for this!
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ExecConnect Apr 2
Replying to @random_walker @jhagel
Ha-ha-ha...informediaries, loved that term :) It came from 's books on the topic and became all the rage pre-dot-bomb. Like most things, the term was misappropriated, and much like the term "blockchain", stopped making sense a few years after he coined it. Great analog :)
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