Thanks for watching the video @yippeeyo, and for the questions.
It was very much addressing the why but not the how. It ended up being nearly 10 minutes even at that (it’s such a big subject!) so I’ll sure have to get into detail on it in future videos.
As far as the macro picture goes, and I’m sure this is obvious to everyone here, the current state of things means that, almost universally, the business model mechanics revolve around gathering vast quantities of user data via free services, and literally controlling it by having it on company servers, and then figuring out how to exploit control of that data later via hawking it to advertisers, or other interested 3rd parties. In fact, to build a massive business in Silicon Valley you don’t even need to have a plan for how you are going to exploit the data, or who you are going to sell it to, or what you are going to do with it, from the outset. All that matters is gathering and hoarding as much of it as you can; that’s what drives a valuation. So employing all the dark and addictive design patterns you can and make sure it’s as difficult as possible for a user disentangle themselves from your service—that’s the path to business success.
It gets so far out of your control, that once you have consented (via unfathomable T&Cs, and/or options that are just theatre, and don’t offer me ay functional control) you have no idea who your data has been shared with, how it’s is being processed, and where it ends up. And the goalposts are regularly moved too.
But of course in return for unfettered access to your personal data, and every move you make on their system, you get access to their product for no upfront charge. That’s the trade.
The Safe Network fundamentally addresses this macro picture through changing the model as a whole: You pay upfront for the data you add to the Network in Safe Network tokens, and it is only accessible to you and other individuals you chose to share it with, by virtue of the fact that only you have the keys to it.
This is perhaps the most significant area where the architecture of the Safe Network enables a fundamentally different model for data access, that breaks down the ‘clearnet’ status quo.
It is not simply about giving users more granular permissions, but addressing the interaction between apps and data in the first place.
Let’s take for example a messaging app, like WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. I sign up for it, and then all the messages I send, contacts I add, and a metric ton of other metadata it’s added to Facebooks servers for them to exploit. Yet for the app to function, and do what I expect of it, there is no need for any of this data to be accessible to anyone other than me and the recipients of the messages I send. Zero. The only reason Facebook need it is to support their business model through exploiting for profit it. That’s it.
The equivalent app on the Safe Network would simply be a UI that I use to compose and send messages.
The content of these messages, who I send them too, my list of contacts, and all the metadata isn’t accessible by anyone else, especially not the developer of the messaging app.
It’s as it should be: all the data remains only accessible to me, and the content of messages I send are for the recipient only.
So it’s not about more granular permissions. It’s not the status quo, but with more options, like some cookie permission pop-up nightmare for everything I do. It’s fundamentally different.
In fact, we’ve renamed App Permissions to App Capabilities to order to try and better reflect this. And even then, that is belt and braces stuff.
If data is to be transmitted anywhere outside of my control, then there are separate sharing and publishing permissions. If an app suddenly starts requesting permissions to share data with people I don’t want it shared with, or move it outside of my control, then I can knock it back.
And there should be no reason for most apps to be doing this… messaging apps, email, music, image editing, word processing, fitness tracking, medical records, web browsing, blog publishing, social media (etc etc) none of these require the app developer to have any access to my data. So there is a simple answer to any apps that request: No. I will not be sharing my data with Facebook LLC, because it is completely unnecessary, and I can happily switch to an alternative app that does not request this.
And that’s the thing, and what I was getting at in the video, Safe gives us the tools to fundamentally shift the relationship that apps have with our data. They become about a user interface again, just about me and me alone manipulating my data, and finding the software that suits me best in doing that.