Contributor: Can decentralized virtual private networks like Deeper Network provide the Web 3.0 antidote of data privacy and censorship resistance to an increasingly manipulated web?
Ironically, the latest breach comes after Facebook, YouTube and Twitter noticeably increased censorship in the face of closer regulatory scrutiny.
Commercial virtual private networks (VPNs) have long been used to combat creeping internet censorship and data exploitation. Yet, they have their weaknesses, such as a centralization, commercial objectives, opaque data practices and increasing pressure from some authorities to reveal user information.
As a result, there is growing support for fully decentralized VPN solutions that can all but guarantee more robust and resilient security and privacy for its users.
This article takes a look at the data privacy and censorship issues that the new generation of decentralized virtual private networks (VPNs) like Deeper Network, Zeronet and KelVPM aim to solve.
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Governments and Data Privacy
Social media platforms and websites’ security can be more porous than Facebook’s claims that it doesn’t spy on users, providing a veritable feast of data for digital miscreants like hackers and scammers to steal for various nefarious purposes. However, the stakes are raised considerably when governments become involved.
It’s no secret that the United States, Russia and China are increasingly waging a new intelligence cold war on each other, with social media and email platforms the new 21st century battlegrounds.
In the midst of all this mayhem, stands the personal user, either oblivious or powerless to the misuse of their data. Can anything be done?
How Secure Is a Centralized VPN?
Virtual private networks (VPN) have become an established means in the last decade for millions of users to escape censorship and keep your data safe.
A few years back, three major VPN providers were reported to have leaked their users’ IP addresses, proving they were not completely safe from hackers, who, in this case, were able to trace the users’ location.
The reason? Commercial VPNs have a single point of failure, which makes it easier to attack.
In terms of data privacy and security, commercial VPNs cannot be completely trusted either. There are providers that keep track of their users’ activities including the websites visited, duration of their browsing and their IP addresses. Even if they do not collect these details, they will still have a record of their subscribers’ e-mail addresses and billing information.
Even if we were to assume that VPN companies are bastions of integrity, they will likely have to give up their users in the event a court order commands them to do so. At this point, we’re failing to address the root cause of the problem, which is centralization.
Can Decentralization Solve Censorship and Data Misappropriation?
There are several projects in the crypto space that are building out this decentralized promised land on competing blockchain platforms, such as Mysterium Network, Sentinel, Hhopr, KelVPN.
A clear frontrunner, though, is Deeper Network, a Silicon Valley-backed protocol which combines blockchain networking with physical VPN hardware which offers incentivized mining of its DPR token to run and maintain its platform.
Deeper Network is a Web3 Foundation grant recipient that is currently being built on Parity’s Substrate blockchain framework, the foundation for Polkadot’s technology stack.
So, how can chains like Polkadot ensure greater anti-censorship and user data privacy?
Deeper Network provides an interesting use case, as it was selected to join the Substrate Builders Program in 2020 and also received a Web3 Foundation grant.
Deeper Network’s DPN Crypto and Hardware
A DPN is a novel alternative to traditional VPNs that enable users to mask their IP address and avoid being spied on by third-parties, since the network has no central servers.
The Deeper Network boasts a stellar development team which is constantly rolling out technical innovations like its native operating system, intelligent routing, IP multiplexing, adaptive tunneling and tunnel layer congestion control to seamlessly merge its hardware and blockchain software.
Importantly, Deeper Network allows every aspect of its ecosystem to remain free from third-party interference, and its standalone hardware technology ensures that network users can control their data privacy literally at the flip of a switch.
Deeper Breaks Crowdfunding Record
Furthermore, it allows anyone to build a website while keeping the IP address of their web server hidden. The network also offers a decentralized DNS service, making it less prone to hacks and censorships.
Deeper Hardware Can Mine Native DPR Token
The device not only allows users in countries with censorship issues to connect anonymously, but also to mine the Deeper Network token (DPR),which will be used to run and maintain the network, while they help to secure the peer-to-peer network.
The DPR token public sale concludes this week, before it makes its debut on exchanges and marketplaces on Apr. 10.
Other decentralized VPNs are also making progress.
Zeronet Builds Free Censorship-Resistant Websites
Zeronet is a nascent platform that enables users to create censorship-resistant websites for free. Zeronet is also powered by the cryptographic technology used in the Bitcoin and BitTorrent networks, making it less susceptible for outsiders to spy on anything within its domain.
KelVPN Promises Quantum-Safe Encryption
KelVPN is a decentralized VPN being built on the Cellframe blockchain platform that promises to keep users’ data safe by tunnelling it between the blockchain nodes and encrypting it with variable quantum-safe encryption, making it theoretically impossible to track your data.
The key to solving today’s internet woes of data exploitation and censorship lies in our collective desire to veer away from centralized platforms in search of something better.
Blockchain technology has taken massive strides in the last couple of years, and there is genuine hope that its Web 3.0 iteration and decentralized applications will mark a more open, intelligent and autonomous reinvention of the internet, or at least a return to its earlier ethos.
With projects like Polkadot out there building the new borderless Web 3.0 universe, the tools are certainly in our hands to help speed up this migration.
The author of this article is an investor in Deeper Network.