At the merest mention of 1984-style government surveillance, most everyone bristles – rightfully so. Intuitively, most of us know that, even though we never intend to engage in malicious, anti-social, or otherwise illegal behavior, the spectre of being constantly watched and monitored stirs something almost primal in us. On some level, we know it is neither right nor healthy for our psyches or our spirits. It alters our behavior, even if we have committed no crime.
And yet, the last few decades have witnessed the rise of the digital panopticon. Many have heard or read about the constant surveillance authoritarianism that characterized the long-fallen Soviet bloc governments. Yet, the KGB and Stasi leadership would have drooled over the degree of overwatch western commercial and governmental interests alike have managed to achieve over entire populations.
The Ever-Watchful Eye
Believe it or not, researchers claim that even as part of a picture or photograph, even the mere gaze of watching eyes can alter people’s behavior. The sensation of being watched has proven itself a powerful tool for social control. It causes people to censor their actions, compelling conformity to a perceived desired outcome. According to Suzanne Nossel, human rights advocate and executive director of PEN America:
“Fear of government surveillance is prompting many writers living in democratic countries to engage in the kind of self-censorship associated with police states. We're all well aware of writers in places like China and Russia who must live life knowing they are always being watched - it's disturbing to recognize that those in the US, Canada, and Australia are now coming to adopt similar behavior.”
And, of course, wait until Artificial Intelligence (AI) improves, as it does consistently. As fanciful as it may seem at the moment, practically everyone has seen Terminator, The Matrix, and countless other near-future techno-dystopias. Those stories were warnings, not pure imagination.
Guck und Horch for the 21st Century
Some people do understand the threat that comes with modern government surveillance. Edward Snowden exposed many intrusive policies back in 2013. Consequently, many individuals have a healthier appreciation for the risks of such omnipresent state surveillance. Fewer, unfortunately, grasp that private/corporate digital monitoring has proven to be every bit as invasive and compromising. Why have we all been willing to trade government surveillance for private surveillance?
Orwell himself is probably rolling in his grave. Rather than sitting at home operating under the constant watchful eye of ‘Big Brother’, we instead choose to carry around ‘Little Brother’ in the palms of our hands. Most of us have succumbed to the siren song of technology-bordering-on-magic at the expense of never having any real privacy.
So Now What?
Still, the scant likelihood remains of putting that toothpaste back into the tube. People love powerful, portable technology. They should. It is a technological and industrial marvel indistinguishable from magic for any pre-television era human. But let us be honest here. No justifiable reason exists to justify the constant insinuation of eyes and ears in every aspect of our lives. There are no practical or technical reasons we cannot enjoy high technology without continual scrutiny.
This brings us to digital assets and the broader world of cryptographic blockchain technology. On a fundamental level, most transactions, private interactions, and data exchanges should be private. Just as surveillance alters one’s decisions and actions in the physical world, so does it similarly affect behavior in the digital world.
Time Keeps on TikTok-ing
Recently you may have heard about the recent data breach over at TikTok. For those unfamiliar, TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share short videos on any topic. The breach, one of the largest in history, compromised the personal data and even payment information of over one billion users. Yes, that’s Billion with a capital B. We are talking about Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk numbers.
At the moment, the jury is still unsure whether there was an external or internal security breach at TikTok. But in the grand scheme of things, that detail is irrelevant. Over the past decade, there have already been countless data breaches, hacks, and all manner of otherwise malicious subversion. Here is a list of major hacks that have occurred in just this year alone:
- Binance: October 2022
- Celsius: October 2022
- Uber: September 2022
- Plex: August 2022
- Ronin: April 2022
- GiveSendGo Breach: February 2022
- Crypto.com Breach: January 2022
These represent only a short list of only the biggest hacks of the past nine months. For a much more comprehensive list of data hacks, check out Firewall Times, found here.
And that brings us to the real point of this piece. What matters is the aggregation and centralization of data in the hands of private interests. We expect these companies to protect our data as aggressively as we would ourselves. Equally, we presume that they will not leverage all that data to fatten up their bottom lines on the one hand or even sell (or pass over) our data to government agencies. In that scenario, you can imagine our dubiousness here at Serenity Shield about ending up on the good end of the proverbial stick.
Let’s face facts, folks. No one, certainly not a major corporation whose ultimate goal is to maximize shareholder value, will ever take your information, security, and privacy as seriously as you do. The incentives do not exist, and they do not seem likely to manifest themselves anytime soon.
The Solution We All Need, Designed By Us
No matter how powerful a concept, the devil is in the details of how that concept gets developed and cultivated. The team here at Serenity Shield has decided to do what we must do for ourselves and the community. We have created a secure, digitally encrypted mechanism that will provide a safe sanctuary from the risks we all face. Our solution has the flexibility and scalability to develop into a more broad-reaching solution as time passes.
Good projects are the products of good teams. Good teams remain humble in the face of adversity and success alike. Despite our early successes, the dynamism of the cryptographic blockchain sector demands it. As soon as you think you have your head around this space and the risks it entails and engenders, the space presents new challenges, complications, and opportunities. Therefore, we intend to build privacy into our solution. Not as a feature but as a standard and as a fundamental. We operate natively on the blockchain, rather than some Frankensteined Web2.0 patchwork “solution.”
Our decentralized application (DApp) has been live for a few weeks, and we have numerous beta testers helping us improve our reliability and robustness. Moreover, we have already focused on remedying wallet security for all applications. Our StrongBox®️ solution has already proven to work as designed. As we more fully develop our solution, the team will add a whole bevy of more specific use cases. One of these use cases will be our very own Serenity Wallet. Like our StrongBox®️, our wallet will incorporate privacy and security by design, not as an afterthought. Only then can we enjoy the Serenity of being in the best hands possible – our own.
Please join us on our Telegram channel. You will be the first to know about official project announcements and developments there. 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 our platforms to assist with your questions.