Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The aim is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali ended his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally cracked. Users are coerced to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and individual information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ private data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to ensure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ private contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and rival with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s See Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The purpose is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali ended his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally cracked. Users are compelled to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and private information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ private data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to assure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ individual contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and contest with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s See Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The purpose is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali ended his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally violated. Users are coerced to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and private information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ individual data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to assure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ individual contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and rival with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s See Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The aim is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali ended his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally cracked. Users are coerced to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and individual information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ private data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to ensure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ individual contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and rival with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s Observe Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The purpose is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali finished his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally violated. Users are compelled to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and private information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ private data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to ensure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ individual contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and contest with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s See Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The objective is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali finished his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally violated. Users are compelled to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and private information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ individual data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to assure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ private contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and contest with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s See Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Princeton-Trained Computer Scientists Are Building a Fresh Internet That Brings Privacy and Property Rights to Cyberspace

Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea are the co-founders of Blockstack, a project to rebuild the internet using blockchain technology so that individuals can reclaim direct control over their own identities, contacts, and data. The objective is to bring the property rights we love in the physical world to cyberspace.

These two Princeton-trained computer scientists—Ali ended his Ph.D. last month with a speciality in distributed systems—believe that today’s internet is fundamentally cracked. Users are coerced to trust companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to maintain our online identities and individual information. They store our files in giant data centers that are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. And the Snowden leaks exposed that the National Security Agency has strong armed these tech giants into handing over users’ individual data without bothering to obtain court-issued warrants.

“Google has this telling, ‘don’t be evil,'” says Ali. “Maybe a company shouldn’t be powerful enough that they’re sitting there thinking, ‘should I be evil or not?'”

So how does Blockstack propose to alter cloud computing, which has bought enormous efficiencies to the tech sector? Ali and Shea say they’ve worked out a way to break up internet data centers into virtual storage lockers that are fully encrypted, so individual users are the only ones who hold the keys to their own data.

“If you’re a Dropbox engineer, you can go through my files today,” says Ali. “But if I use Dropbox through Blockstack, they have no visibility into the data at all.”

This fresh decentralized architecture is possible thanks to the invention of a fresh type of distributed database called a “blockchain,” which was introduced to the world in two thousand eight as a component of the peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin. The blockchain was designed as a decentralized system for keeping track of who possesses what bitcoin, but in the last nine years an entire industry has emerged that all about integrating the blockchain into everything from real estate markets to driverless car technology.

Shea describes the blockchain as a virtual “whitepages the community maintains together,” which “anyone can add to” but “nobody controls”—a record that doesn’t require a central entity to assure its veracity. This collective white pages lists the location of each users’ encrypted data lockers.

Essential online functions that can be moved to the blockchain include registering unique identities and keeping track of each users’ private contacts. On this fresh internet, applications like Facebook and Twitter will still exist, but they’ll have far less power and responsibility.

“At Blockstack, we’re enabling petite, open-source groups to grow and rival with the large players,” says Shea.

What will the Blockstack internet mean for Silicon Valley? Shea predicts a fresh wave of tech firms will emerge. “I believe this will create a much larger economy and a lot more prosperity for everyone.”

Written, shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Extra camera by Kevin Alexander.

Common Consensus by The Franks, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Talvihorros by the Blue Cathedral, Creative Commons Attribution license.

What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s Witness Jason X by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons Attribution license.

Jim Epstein is a writer and producer at Reason.

Related video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn7baKKXyKo

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