A privacy-focused blockchain file storage service, Internxt has a high vision: leverage decentralized technology to break Big Tech’s monopoly on user data. The first product, Internxt Drive, is designed to compete as an alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox – without compromising privacy or data ownership.
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Internxt CEO Fran Villalba-Segara described the core technology behind his product and explained why privacy should be considered a fundamental human right. He also explained the dangers of centralized architecture, why large tech companies constantly violate user privacy, and what awaits Internet users in the Internet age 3.
Confidentiality as a human right
While privacy advocates have long been concerned about Big Tech’s use of user data, the 2018 Facebook scandal with Cambridge Analytica made the topic widespread. (Recall that Cambridge Analytica is a British consulting firm that managed to obtain data on millions of Facebook users without their consent. Their information was then used in political advertising.) In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined the social media giant $ 5 billion for violation confidentiality.
In retrospect, this did not surprise companies like Cambridge Analytica Segarra, which told Cointelegraph that protecting user privacy was at odds with the business models of companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft. “This is why these companies are collecting more data than is really needed,” he explained. “Their services are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end.”
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Lack of knowledge about the file storage service
The breach of Big Tech’s privacy forced Segarra and his team to create a new business model based on decentralization. The company’s first product, Internxt Drive, is used as an alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox, which rely on zero knowledge encryption and geographically dispersed data centers. Here’s one for an explanation:
“Files uploaded to the Internxt Drive are segmented, encrypted on the client side and distributed around the world, so the server never maintains the entire file, but instead splits the files in these structures into equal pieces of data. Each segment or block has its own address, ”but there is no metadata to provide context about what it is. The target storage can be configured to copy data across storage arrays or distributed file systems. ”
Unlike centralized systems, where user data is stored on physical servers owned and operated by the cloud provider, the decentralized architecture provides enhanced security in terms of cloud functionality.
“If a decentralized component is compromised or detects a run-time failure, this is the worst case scenario where the component stops working and the rest of the cloud continues to function normally,” he explained. On the other hand, in centralized cloud storage, core functionality is intertwined in one room. “If a mistake or attack succeeds in destabilizing the central component, the entire cloud is in jeopardy.”
Web 3 and the future of privacy
Network 3, a broad concept referring to a new model of Internet services in which users retain greater control over their personal data, has been heralded as a potential solution to society’s growing privacy concerns. The current model, dubbed Web 2, is paid primarily for by companies that provide services in exchange for personal information.
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With the advent of blockchain technology, decentralization has become almost synonymous with Web 3. Decentralized cloud storage technology powered by Internxt is in line with the story that Web 3 is changing data ownership and giving more control to users rather than big tech companies. Industry observers rightly point out that this new model could challenge current privacy policies, especially as decentralized apps continue to grow.
“Web 3 is guaranteed to be huge,” Segara said, adding that consumer-oriented applications that enable users to protect themselves online “will be in demand in the marketplace.”
Internxt launched a successful introductory round, raising $ 1 million in fundraising from the Miami Venture City Fund. Segarra said adoption is on the rise and the company is expected to grow by 150 by the end of 2021.