Censorships, Blockages and the Role of Decentralization in the Battle for a Free Internet
In the age of the internet where expressing yourself has become easier than ever thanks to social media platforms, there is a growing amount of cautiousness about what we say, share and do online. Expressing our opinions through posts, comments, and tweets that do not conform to the ideology of an organization or a state has far-reaching consequences, and those found guilty are punished as a reminder that there is no freedom of speech on the internet.
An example is China. Its citizens have limited access to information about what is going on and the government has total control over what they see and do. Online censorship is common in China but the government utilizes such advanced technology to censor headlines that the citizens are mostly kept in the blue about happenings in their own country. When it comes to censoring the internet, China is not the only culprit. Cuba, Iran, and Syria have also indulged in blocking information online in their countries.
Today, the internet is a modern-day necessity, to the point where it is considered a basic human right. It is constantly under surveillance and regulation and is fully or partly owned by regulatory authorities, a central authority, and large corporations such as “big tech” to prevent the unethical practice of monitoring, selling, and misusing a user’s personal data. To counter these challenges, a new concept was born — a decentralized internet that implements open-source blockchain technology where no large corporations or governments own a large chunk of the internet.
Blockchain is mostly associated with its most popular application — cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum but the technology offers many more innovative solutions. Some other examples of applications of blockchain technology are decentralized social media platforms such as Mastodon that aim to protect the freedom of speech of its users, decentralized domain names that cannot be censored or blocked completely, and decentralized cloud storage services such as StorX that split your files into encrypted fragment across individual storage nodes across the world and the hosts are incentivized to lease their unused disk space in StorX’s own native token. It is a 100% trustless system that eliminates the possibility of a third party accessing or altering your data for their own profit at a fraction of the cost of centralized cloud storage services such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
The key aspect of a decentralized internet is that it will be owned and operated by members of the community making it more accessible and at the same time reduce the amount of control that governments and corporations have over the internet. This form of the internet will be more secure, private, cost significantly lower, and will be open to all. Anyone can use the decentralized internet, anyone can provide it and anyone can profit from offering their internet services to those who need it.
Blockchain holds the potential to transform online communications and with the advent of Web 3.0 which is decentralized, censorships, blockages, and internet crackdowns will be a thing of the past as we build a free internet that is for the community, by the community. There is a long road ahead for blockchain but as it steadily rises in popularity and keeps evolving, it is only time before a decentralized internet revolutionizes the way we use the web.