What if I told you that no one – not governments, not corporations, not even other people – generally has an incentive to respect your personal freedom? Some of you would surely disagree. And yet, the facts are there for all to see. No one will ever protect your rights as fervently as you will.
The Cold, Hard Truth
Our world is dominated by digital technology that feeds off of personal data to function. Private businesses and government organizations continuously collect and exploit our data. Sometimes they accomplish this through coercion, sometimes without our knowledge or agreement, sometimes by simply ignoring the law, and other times changing the law to facilitate the collection of our data. Indeed, one would be foolish to presume the two, public and private, do not collude in maintaining and operating this digital panopticon.
Even well-established rights offer little serious protection against the new order of things. Take the recent events in the United States, for instance. Regardless of your position on abortion, the right to privacy was the core legal justification sustaining the original Roe vs. Wade decision. Despite being the law of the land for half a century, the state found cause to upend that elemental, primal right.
That official, legal rejection of basic privacy rights should concern everyone. It illustrates our collective digital precarity and portends a general erosion of personal autonomy and privacy.
Regardless of where you live, the implications terrify. When decades-old fundamental rights can be upended, no rights are safe. No one can reasonably rely on the government to protect and sustain our rights. Nor should anyone operate under the illusion that private industry might respect them. We have to do it all ourselves.
The State of Play
The current iteration of the internet, the venerable Web2.0 paradigm, forces us to trade agency for convenience. We avail ourselves of freeware – email, social media, video content – thinking that we somehow get the better end of the deal. Look at all this functionality, and all we forego is our privacy – a classic deal with the devil.
In return, we become the targets of constant surveillance and advertisement. As the father of the modern advertising industry and nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, once wrote in his not-at-all suspectly named book Propaganda:
”"There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes."
Bernays wrote these prophetic words almost a century ago. While he accurately described the world he observed, modern technology has magnified the power of the influence he described. Accordingly, that power has become much more invasive, subtle, and effective.
We trust social media corporations with our most intimate thoughts. Between images of ourselves and loved ones, even our private credentials to countless other platforms, we offer up veritable troves of personal details, for free. They then repackage, repurpose, exploit, and weaponize our private information against us. We hold our noses and click. We feel that unless we want to be an online hermit, there really is no choice. Everyone else is doing it. No one wants to be left out.
The Darkness Before The Dawn
Despite the rather bleak, gloomy outlook, hope – as they say – springs eternal. Reasons for optimism do exist, if you know where to look. The fact that this conversation can even take place should fill us all with some sense of hopefulness.
Doubly so, an entire nascent ecosystem has sprung up to combat this problem and provide us all with real tools to empower us all. Every action entails a reaction. Web3.0, with its emphasis on security and privacy, is the predictable reaction to the invasiveness of Web2.0.
A New Hope
Self-sovereignty – if you stick around the blockchain long enough, you are bound to hear the term. The idea lies at the very heart of the decentralization movement. For the true believers in the technology, self-sovereignty represents the conceptual foundation upon which everything else is constructed.
Wikipedia defines it in the following way:
Self-ownership, also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty, is the concept of property in one’s own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one’s own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as libertarianism, liberalism, and anarchism.
On a broader scale, self-sovereignty stands as the cornerstone philosophical concept upon which the entire modern age has been built. Every significant political and philosophical movement over the past 300 years has centered on the idea or has been a reaction to it. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – specifically articles 8-10 – spells out a comprehensive explanation if you are so inclined.
For our purposes, self-sovereignty means self-governance. It is the ability to determine one’s own path in life, being the ultimate and exclusive authority over one’s mind and body. Self-sovereignty, put simply, is personal freedom. Self-sovereignty is liberty.
The Serenity of Real Digital Security
As we have stated proudly before, the team at Serenity Shield believes fervently that digital rights are nothing less than human rights for digital spaces. If governments and private enterprises do not actively respect and protect these rights, we must avail ourselves of effective, self-directed solutions ourselves. We envision easy, affordable, reliable access to trustless privacy and security, anywhere and anytime, for everyone. Powerful threats necessitate even more powerful defensive options.
We imagine a brighter digital future. Instead of blindly relying upon Web2.0 technology, entrusting our precious data with the digital information oligopolists who pull the strings, Serenity Shield intends to empower everyone to become the custodians of their own data and identities. That reorientation of control informs our work.
Protecting our users’ privacy, security, and digital rights supersedes all other considerations. This insistence on base-layer, individual privacy over a fully decentralized web will enable us to become our most steadfast defense. It is fundamental to Serenity Shield.
We believe in data privacy by default. The only genuinely reliable approach must preserve privacy as a matter of course. We foresee a world where we alone possess the authority to share our personal information when and with whom we choose. Serenity Shield will provide the means to allow people to make this decision – one informed by intent and consent, not by a default decision made for us.
We are a project made up of people from the space doing something for the space. We are currently building the kind of project our team wishes we had already. In our conversations with other privacy maximalists, our team constantly listens to what the community suggests, and we work hard to implement these suggestions.
As you have read over the past few months, Serenity Shield is committed to one thing above all else – individual digital freedom. Whether discussing digital rights, data privacy, or digital security, the Serenity Shield team asserts our prerogative as true privacy maximalists. The Serenity Shield team will provide our users with the most powerful, effective tools to help gain stewardship over their digital lives. Our users will become the masters of their digital destiny.
On the news front, and pertinent to the discussion, Serenity Shield team is excited to announce the release of our DApp in less than two weeks. We remain on track to release our beta version by mid-August. The team remains hard at work rigorously testing everything in anticipation of the official rollout. Stay tuned here for the exact date.
Also, please join us on our Telegram channel. There, you will be the first to know about official project announcements and developments. Additionally, you can also find us on Twitter, Discord, and our website. Please visit our whitepaper and previous articles here for a more in-depth discussion of our project. We are always available on all of our platforms to assist with your questions.