What does "Decentra...
 
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What does "Decentralization" mean to heavily oppressed countries?

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(@serhonest)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago

Hi! I'm an advocator of free-speech and I find this forum really exciting. Not only because people are actually coming up with individual ideas, but also because it seems to be a sense of organization and resistance against oppression that we (people in heavily oppressed countries) love to see. We now how you feel, we have been there.

 

I'm from Venezuela and as you may know, we don't really have a lot of free-speech here. You can lose some perks or even your basic rights if you don't seem to follow the leaders' narrative. It's dangerous to publish on social networks like Twitter or Facebook because they obviously don't dislike Maduro and like the Left very much - which means they may facilitate Maduro's party our personal information at some point. So a lot of us just kind of spectate the world in silence.

 

My question is: could this "Decentralization" movement have an impact on heavily oppressed countries and silenced? If you find a way of allowing us participate on discussion in a way that we don't have to worry about the owner of the platform getting corrupted, I guarantee you will get a lot of extra support from the silenced countries.

 

Thank you all and keep up the great work!

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4 Replies
Mutchler
Posts: 34
(@mutchler)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago

I like the idea of some sort of guarantee that identity wouldn’t be divulged.  But still need to verify that you’re not undercover/bot?

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zxq9
 zxq9
(@zxq9)
Joined: 3 years ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 23

@mutchler There is a spectrum:

  1. Complete anonymity (no event is provably connected to any other event)
  2. Partial anonymity (people know within a given context that user X is always user X, but don't know who he is)
  3. Identity verification (people know exactly who you are and you work to make it that way)

There are tradeoffs with each, as you just pointed out (how do I know you're not a Fed?).

All forms are possible. There is not an optimal alignment between this spectrum and applied use cases IMO. But maybe that will evolve. Most people have just never thought these issues through before, but I imagine this will become a much more common sort of discussion to have within social media development groups from now on.

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Mutchler
(@mutchler)
Joined: 3 years ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@zxq9 I promise I’m not the Fed!  Is that enough?  Online it probably impossible to do, physically meeting is more doable, but still has it’s own problems.  I think if that can be done, then setting up a network of some kind is possible.

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zxq9
Posts: 23
 zxq9
(@zxq9)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago

Yes. Decentralization is important for enabling communication in oppressed countries, but more than mere decentralization is required in the case of online communication within a fully oppressive regime. You need

  • Anonymity
  • Access from within to resource that can host public data outside
  • A way for traffic within the distributed/anonymous network to masquerade as other types of traffic

This is possible (systems like I2P, Freenet (in particular, "Darknet") and Tor go a long way to making this possible, but still have challenges) but there are tradeoffs that are necessary for this to be possible.

As an alternative (or augmentation to) the ordinary internet, any place mobile phone ownership is very high it may be possible to create direct-meshed networks that are immune from direct control measures (until direct control measures evolve, that is). This would be a different project than the one I'm currently interesting in developing right now (an infrastructure on top of which it would be possible to build applications like Twitter and YouTube but much more resistant to censorship).

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