In recent years, the negative impacts of social media and other global technology platforms have become a top concern for people around the world. The danger seems to grow by the day: Recently, we learned that the popular encrypted messaging service WhatsApp has been sharing user data with Facebook since 2016. The news comes as social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook, once lauded for facilitating the free dissemination of ideas, are increasingly seen as having failed to effectively moderate misinformation and conspiracy theories on their platforms. The internet, as currently constituted, has a dark side.
Government action to legislate privacy protection, from Europe to California, is a reflection of the public’s increasing concern for their online safety. But bewilderingly, in the midst of the growing demand for strong privacy protections, governments around the world are also working to kneecap the very encryption that makes true privacy possible in the name of public safety.
When it comes to strengthening digital privacy, the most important technologies are end-to-end encryption and decentralization. They’re even more powerful when they’re combined. Here’s how encryption and decentralization could work together to protect your safety and privacy online.