Kik Closes – FBI Requests Backdoor Built Into Facebook Messenger. Is it Time to Decentralize?

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Let’s start with a quick recap of Kik

What happened?

Kik Interactive announced late Monday that it’s shuttering the messenger app and cuttingits staff from over 100 people to just 19 employees. The company will focus its remaining resources entirely on growing its cryptocurrency, Kin, the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (cnn.com)

Kik climbed to prominence alongside other well-known messenger apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram with its distinguishing feature of being privacy-centric — amassing fans and critiques along the way. While the privacy-focused app was negatively received by a small percentage because of its vast use cases, the recent shut down was not a result of this.

“Many ICOs are being conducted illegally,” — Jay Clayton

Beginning with a Senate banking committee hearing in February 2018, ICOs were put on notice by SEC chairman Jay Clayton’s public announcement that those raising ICOs were “in the crosshairs of our enforcement provision,” and going on to say “Folks somehow got comfortable that this was new and it was okay and it was not a security, it was just some other way to raise money.”

What is the significance of these events?

Things happen. Companies fail. That’s a result of free markets with competition and innovation driving usage and general consumption. What doesn’t happen, in a purely free market-driven ecosystem anyway, is that outside forces (see: SEC) apply insurmountable pressure by levying the bottomless pit of money that is the U.S. government upon private corporations. This undue pressure is precisely what happened in the case of Kik. One could make the argument that the SEC came down hard on Kik in particular because of the privacy-centric nature of their messenger while blaming the witchhunt on failure to register their ICO properly.

Well, the United States Government (or any other world superpower for that matter) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So where does that leave us?

Decentralization — or the pursuit of it.

Decentralization — the dispersion or distribution of functions and powers (Merriam Webster)

Okay. So powers and functions are dispersed over a wide swath of individuals and networks. How does that stop government agencies from coming down on projects? Well, with the decentralization of power and function comes the dispersion of liability, which in the case of Kik, could have helped. In their case, for instance, they face what seems to be in an impossible uphill battle that will undoubtedly include fines, sanctions, and the like. Were there no central governing body (Kik Interactive) to come down on, there wouldn’t have been an immediate need to divert funding away from their messenger app, slash nearly 90% of their workforce, and ultimately close what was a viable private messenger app that allowed for innumerable benefits to individuals across the globe, particularly those who live under oppressive governments.

FBI calls for “backdoors” into both applications like Facebook Messenger and personal devices.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (A U.S. criminal investigation agency focused on crime at the federal level) have formally brought a case against Facebook in the California court systems.

The latest of these attempts, according to cyber security organization experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security, comes from a case presented by the Department of Justice against Facebook in the Federal Court of California, which aims to force Facebook to create a specially crafted version of its Messenger app, so the FBI can listen to a suspect’s voice conversations. (SecurityNewspaper.com)

This isn’t the first time a United States government agency has sought a backdoor to gain access to personal and private information. For instance, Apple faced similar requests to build a specialized version of its operating system after the San Bernandino mass shooter was found to have a locked iPhone 5c on his person. This version of iOS would allow access to any iPhone confiscated by The Bureau. Apple declined, sighting personal privacy (a big win for its userbase). Ultimately the FBI dropped the case after an external contractor helped them to access the device. The methods by which this happened are uncertain, but tools like GrayKey, have taken advantage of a vulnerability to gain access via a brute force password guessing scheme. This vulnerability has been since patched by Apple.

This brings us back to the point of decentralization. In this particular case, Apple was fortunate to have had the case dropped, and even if it hadn’t been, they happen to be the most financially liquid company in the history of man and thus have the resources to fight back. Not every company will be positioned as such. This should be considered.


A quick plug for a decentralized project that aims to move us toward a more decentralized world

ODIN.Chat

ODIN wants you to own your conversation. Having realized the possibility for an impending doomsday scenario where massive leaks of personal data lead to real-world consequences, ODIN Blockchain decided to do something about it and built ODIN.Chat, a blockchain-powered, secure messenger with the end user’s privacy in mind.

When ODIN Blockchain decided to build a free messenger, we put a lot of thought into what free means not just to us, but to the userbase too. Here’s a list of things we don’t ask for when you use our product: your name, your date of birth, your address, we don’t even ask for your email address, all of which other companies see as revenue when you sign up. We don’t even ask you to create a username and risk being linked to other accounts that might share certain features of that name. It truly is private. We might not be changing the world by ourselves, but we certainly hope to be apart of the group that does.

Where do I find out more about ODIN?

Reddit

A Titan Falls — Private Messaging App Kik to Shut Down

Just how big was Kik?

Let’s examine the numbers.

1 Billion — The dollar valuation placed on Kik resulting from a private market valuation.

300 Million — The number of registered users Kik hosted as of 2016, the last year Kik made its metrics on registered users available.

100 Million — The total U.S. Dollar equivalent Kik’s cryptocurrency, Kin raised during its initial coin offering.

What happened?

Kik Interactive announced late Monday that it’s shuttering the messenger app and cuttingits staff from over 100 people to just 19 employees. The company will focus its remaining resources entirely on growing its cryptocurrency, Kin, the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (cnn.com)

Kik climbed to prominence alongside other well-known messenger apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram with its distinguishing feature of being privacy-centric— amassing fans and critiques along the way. While the privacy-focused app was negatively received by a small percentage because of its vast use cases, the recent shut down was not a result of this.

“Many ICOs are being conducted illegally,” — Jay Clayton

Beginning with a Senate banking committee hearing in February 2018, ICOs were put on notice by SEC chairman Jay Clayton’s public announcement that those raising ICOs were “in the crosshairs of our enforcement provision,” and going on to say “Folks somehow got comfortable that this was new and it was okay and it was not a security, it was just some other way to raise money.”

What remains of Kik?

With a relatively robust staff of at least 100 salaried employees, Kik had a reasonably large team to provide development, support, and general oversite to what had become a widely used and fairly popular messenger service even by today’s standards. The ensuing lawsuit has forced Kik into a massive cut back as only 19 persons remain employed by Kik. An announcement by Kik Interactive estimates this staff reduction could result in cutting the current burn rate levied by legal costs some 85% allowing the continued development of its cryptocurrency asset Kin during their legal woes.

More on ODIN.Chat — A Secure, Blockchain-Driven, Private Messenger

ODIN.Chat

ODIN wants you to own your conversation. Having realized the possibility for an impending doomsday scenario where massive leaks of personal data lead to real-world consequences, ODIN Blockchain decided to do something about it and built ODIN.Chat, a blockchain-powered, secure messenger with the end user’s privacy in mind.

When ODIN Blockchain decided to build a free messenger, we put a lot of thought into what free means not just to us, but to the userbase too. Here’s a list of things we don’t ask for when you use our product: your name, your date of birth, your address, we don’t even ask for your email address, all of which other companies see as revenue when you sign up. We don’t even ask you to create a username and risk being linked to other accounts that might share certain features of that name. It truly is private. We might not be changing the world by ourselves, but we certainly hope to be apart of the group that does.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

Going Green: Energy Consumption Evaluation Part 2: Proof of Stake Consensus Algorithms

Subscribe and return every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a dose of privacy.

Disclaimer ODIN’s Blockchain uses a Proof of Stake Consensus Algorithm. If you have not yet read part one evaluating the energy consumption variables of proof of work blockchains, I suggest doing so here.

This article aims at being part two of a three-part series evaluating energy consumption in both the proof of work and proof of stake consensus algorithms vs. that of traditional banking systems and electronic payment processors.

Proof of Work and Proof of Stake Consensus Protocols vs Traditional Banking Systems

Proof of Work (PoW) — A proof of work is a piece of data that is difficult (costly, time-consuming) to produce but easy for others to verify and which satisfies certain requirements. Producing a proof of work can be a random process with low probability so that a lot of trial and error is required on average before a valid proof of work is generated. (Bitcoin.it)

Proof of stake (PoS) — is a type of consensus algorithm by which a cryptocurrency blockchain network aims to achieve distributed consensus. In PoS-based cryptocurrencies, the creator of the next block is chosen via various combinations of random selection and wealth or age (i.e., the stake). (Wikipedia)

Photo origin can be traced to here.

Traditional Banking Systems — A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit.[1] Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. (Wikipedia)

Energy Consumption Variables in Proof of Stake

This section will evaluate the energy consumption costs associated with the securitization and decentralization of ODIN’s proof of stake consensus algorithm ran blockchain.

Staking via ODIN Blockchain’s Core Wallet

There are a variety of operating systems and minimum hardware requirments needed to run the ODIN Blockchain Core Wallet. This operating system and minimum hardware requirements list can be found here.

Operating Systems Supported

  • Apple’s macOS
  • Microsofts’s Windows
  • Linux Foundations’s Linux OS

Hardware Samples that Meet Current Requirements
While it should be noted that the following do not encompass the totality of hardware configurations that meet ODIN Blockchain’s current Core Wallet requirements, and quite often vastly exceed the requirements needed, they will give us a reference point of energy consumption when evaluating modern hardware that will support our wallet via the previously mentioned operating systems.

  • Apple’s 2018 Macbook Pro 13″ Model

Running a core wallet program requires very little computational power, but for argument’s sake, we will assume that the hardware in question, a 2018 Macbook Pro ran at full throttle 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an entire year. This would yield a net energy consumption of 350.4 kilowatts of energy for this entire year of limit-pushing computational performance, coming in at a mere 35% energy consumption usage relative to that of just a single BTC transaction, which data suggests can take upwards of 1 Gigawatt (1,000 kilowatts) per an article published by Vice.

Macbook energy consumption figures were sourced here, total energy consumption calculations were figured here.

  • Microsoft’s 2016 Surface Studio

According to data found on Microsoft.com, under its legal energy efficiency disclosure page, the Surface Studio used some 177.3 kilowatts of energy over the course of a year when used under normal circumstances. This energy consumption was higher than five times its next least energy-efficient device, the 2015 Surface Book, per the table found below.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/compliance/energy
  • Raspberry Pi 3

According to data found in Raspberrypi.stackexchange.com, under even the most extreme use cases, one could expect a yearly energy consumption total not to exceed 35.04 kilowatts of energy.

Is their a consensus amongst the Blockchain community?

The debate rages on as communities have built-in incentivization to believe their consensus algorithm to be superior.HuntingIsland highlighting some of the equivalencies in terms of energy consumption compared to BTC transactions.

In a SubReddit the tweet above was shared to, the following points of contention were made in favor of both consensus algorithms:

  • While Bitcoins’s PoW does use considerable amounts of energy, upwards of 74.1% of this energy comes from renewable sources, making it a leader across all global industries in renewable energy source usage. (Vox.com)
  • Proof of Stake allows for a more egalitarian playing field as the barrier to entry is limited to one’s ability to purchase a stake in the chain via token or coin acquisition, while Proof of Work requires access to some of the most powerful processors, cheap energy sources, and hardware storage space.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

Going Green: Energy Consumption Evaluation Part 1: Proof of Work Consensus Algorithms

Subscribe and Return Daily for a Dose of Privacy .

This article aims at being part one of a two-part series evaluating energy consumption in both the proof of work and proof of stake consensus algorithms vs. that of traditional banking systems and electronic payment processors.

Proof of Work and Proof of Stake Consensus Protocols vs Traditional Banking Systems

Proof of Work (PoW)  proof of work is a piece of data that is difficult (costly, time-consuming) to produce but easy for others to verify and which satisfies certain requirements. Producing a proof of work can be a random process with low probability so that a lot of trial and error is required on average before a valid proof of work is generated. (Bitcoin.it)

Proof of stake (PoS) — is a type of consensus algorithm by which a cryptocurrency blockchain network aims to achieve distributed consensus. In PoS-based cryptocurrencies, the creator of the next block is chosen via various combinations of random selection and wealth or age (i.e., the stake). (Wikipedia)

Traditional Banking Systems — A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit.[1] Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. (Wikipedia)

Energy Consumption Variables in Proof of Work

“Its consumption is roughly the same as Ireland’s” -The Econimist on Bitcoins current energy consumption. (July 9th, 2018.)

https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

This section will explore the mechanisms associated with the successful network securitization of a chain via the proof of work consensus algorithm. Considering Bitcoin is unquestionably the largest, most established, and arguably most secure chain using PoW, we will discuss data associated with their network throughout this article.

Energy Consumption Variables
Personal Computers
GPUs
ASIC Miners

Initially, home desktops were more than enough for cryptocurrency mining. Over time, miners switched to GPUs for more hashrate and CPUs became obsolete. You can still mine using older methods, but there will be insignificant profitability and hence useless effort, meaning your electricity bills will rise but profits will be minimal at best. Currently, there is specially designed hardware available for mining known as GPUs and ASICs. Some coins, however, are ASIC resistant and can be mined using GPUs only.

The overall argument isn’t whether or not Proof of Work algorithms use mass amounts of energy, but rather is the cost a necessary evil in exchange for immutability and the trustless systems that come with it. Some research on the subject has Bitcoins proof of work driven network uses as much energy globally as Ireland does in its entirety. Other articles claim that the transaction of 1 Bitcoin ‘is equivalent to 330,000 Visa transactions’ (robeco.com); its no surprise proof of work has its neigh sayers. With thousands of personal computers and even more GPUs and ASIC miners, the difficulty and competition for block rewards will only require more energy consumption increases, not less.

https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

That depends, hierarchically speaking, where do you rank individual liberties, immutable ledgers, and decentralized networks on your list of unalienable rights? This will vary person to person of course, but assuming you rank order these resulting consequences of Bitcoin’s network reasonably high up, then yes, the energy usage associated with securing this network would be justified. But why rationalize something made unnecessary by technological advancement?

In part two of this series, we will examine what advancements in Blockchain consensus algorithms may have made Bitcoin’s current PoW powered network look brutish and archaic by comparison.

While no one can argue that Bitcoin (and other altcoins) mining consumes a lot of electricity (in absolute numbers) given that you need to run a network of few hundreds or thousands of very powerful computers all the time, the right way to look at this problem is not about the total consumption but to compare how efficient is Bitcoin relative to the alternative traditional centralized systems that we are predominantly using today and that one day crypto might replace. (Hackernoon)

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

SEC Claims Telegram’s Token to Have ‘no use’ Halting Redemption Launch

SEC Files Lawsuit to Halt Token Distribution to Investors Who Purchased During Closed Offerings

Investors bought the future gram tokens during two closed rounds in February and March of 2018 for a price of 37 cents and $1.33 each, respectively. In early September, the code for TON’s blockchain nodes was released and on Oct. 2, investors received emails with links to TON’s key generator (so that they can access their actual tokens). The project is scheduled to launch no later than Oct. 31. (CoinDesk.com)

The Securities and Exchange Commission reached out to TON Blockchain investors (Telegram’s blockchain-based division) for comment regarding pitches and conveyance of information regarding their investments in ‘grams,’ the moniker for the token issued by TON Blockchain.

After one conversation, the SEC determined the investor purchased:

“$27.5 million worth of Grams in early 2018 for tokens that had no use and would have no use at the time of launch, demonstrating its intent to profit from the potential increase in value of Grams.” (CoinDesk.com)

The SEC has long shown a position of skepticism in token offerings that offer no readily apparent functionality or necessity.

Telegram Solicited Feedback from SEC Prior to Lawsuit

In a circulating email, presumably to ‘Gram’ investors in response to the SEC’s actions, Telegram claims surprise and disappointment,

“Telegram has attempted to engage with and solicit feedback from the SEC for the past 18 months regarding the TON blockchain. We were surprised and disappointed that the SEC chose to file the lawsuit under these circumstances, and we disagree with the SEC’s legal position.”

The email, according to Coindesk, goes on to say Telegram is exploring their options “including but not limited to assessing whether to seek to delay the launch date.”

TON Blockchain

Lacking a Use Case

use case — a specific situation in which a product or service could potentially be used. (Google Dictionary)

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, TON Blockchain, and by extension, Telegram, is peddling a token that lacks a use-case and whose value is purely speculative. As mentioned previously, ‘Grams … had no use and would have no use at the time of launch, demonstrating its intent to profit from the potential increase in value of Grams.’

In short, the SEC asserts that ‘Grams’ are inessential and provide no use case of substance at this point.

Why Does the SEC have any say in this at all? Are we not talking about a ‘crypto’ currency and not a security?

The SEC often uses what is widely known as the “Howey Test,” resulting from SEC v. W. J. Howey Co. in determining whether or not a qualification as an ‘investment contract’ is appropriate,

“a contract, transaction, or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party.”

In the case of ‘Grams,’ the SEC felt this distinction appropriate.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

Privacy Browser Allows $Tipping$ to Twitter, Github, and Reddit Users!

ODIN CHAT | Anonymous, Private, Secure, Free | Next-Gen MessagingODIN CHAT – Next Gen Anonymous Messaging. Private, secure, forever free, no adverts. Includes a built-in digital…odin.chat

Introduction

This article intends to give you a step-by-step guide on installing Brave Web Brower’s $BAT tipping feature as well as inform the ODIN Community that we have enabled $BAT tipping across channels should you like to contribute via this ‘tipping system’! The Privacy focused web browser offered by Brave is currently available for Windows 32 and 64 bit OS environments, macOS, and Linux.

Definitions

$BAT — BAT is short for Basic Attention Token; it is a digital advertising token that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. … Users get paid for giving attention to ads. Publishers get a portion of the ad revenue as is the norm. Advertisers get better ROI for their content. (BlockGeeks.com)

Brave Web Brower — The Brave browser is a fast, private and secure web browser for PC, Mac and mobile. (Brave.com)

ODIN Blockchain — ODIN Blockchain is a proprietary blockchain-powered by $ODIN, the native currency of the ODIN Blockchain, and is built through a network of open source cooperatively built mobile applications with a focus on privacy and decentralization. (ODINBlockchain.org) ODIN Blockchain is currently home to ODIN.Chat, a 100% anonymous, private, and free Blockchain-Driven messenger. Download now in the Google Play Store!

ODIN Society—ODIN Society is a non-profit cooperative of digital engineers holding legal status with the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority. ODIN’s governance exists both on and off of our proprietary blockchain, allowing for innovative hybrid governance solutions. (nondescript | ODIN)

Step 1 — Sign Up as a BRAVE Publisher!

publishers.brave

Head on over to https://publishers.basicattentiontoken.org/ and begin the sign-up process.

Clicking Sign-Up takes you here.

Become a Creator

Fill in your email address, click I agree to Brave’s terms & conditions. Then click Create account.

Welcome to the party!

Having entered a valid email address, agreeing to the terms and conditions, and clicking create account should take you to this screen. This prompts you to ‘Finish setting up your Creator’s account by clicking on the secure login link in the email we just sent. Don’t see the email? Be sure to check your spam folder or click here to try again.

Verify your email

Click Verify email.

One last thing…

Enter your name and consent to be informed of new features and promotions via email. Checking the box is NOT MANDATORY. Only click if you’d like to opt-in for future email correspondence.

Protect your account with 2FA

Protecting your accounts with Two-Factor-Authentification is ALWAYS encouraged and is generally a best practice when protecting digital assets and account information.

After having set up 2FA or choosing to skip for now will take you to your dashboard. We’re almost there! First, we must link an Uphold Wallet. This allows us to claim our rewards. Click Connect to Uphold, pictured above, taking you here:

Follow uphold’s sign up process to create an account. If you already have an existing account, click Login here, found at the bottom of the page. Having followed the steps correctly should result in your Brave dashboard showing your wallet now ‘connected’.

Adding Channels

We will now ‘Add Channels’ allowing for you to start receiving $BAT tips for your content across various channels including the following: Websites, Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, Vimeo, Reddit, and Github!

Note: You do not have to be the individual owner, but you must have access to account log-in credentials to verify an account.

Clicking one of the available channels will re-direct you to a login credential page where you can verify the login credentials and enable $BAT tipping via the Brave Browser. Here is an example showing the linking of a GitHub account.

Enter your GitHub Credentials here
Successfully linked GitHub
Brave tipping in $BAT is now available at github.com/nondescriptODIN

You’re done!

Congratulations and welcome to tipping by BRAVE. For additional support along the way, feel free to comment on this post below and I will help where I can!

Bonus! Pro Tip!

Make your tipping banner stand out by customizing it with unique photos and a personalized message by clicking ‘Tipping Banner’ in the top right-hand corner of your Brave dashboard. Here’s a look at my customization for ODIN Blockchain.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

Privacy and the Youth. A Few Things to Consider When it Comes to Your Children.

Subscribe and Return Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a Dose of Privacy.

With children’s digital footprint increasingly beginning before birth, yes sharing that sonogram might have more impact than you think, here are a few things you can do today to ensure your child’s right to privacy remains intact.

If your child is school-aged, have a candid discussion with the administration about their media release policies.

Oversharing doesn’t stop with the family. Teachers, coaches, scout leaders, family friends, regardless of intent, may be infringing on your child’s right to privacy. Visit any one of these individual’s various social media pages, and you’re likely to find an image of your child unobscured from the outside world.

Child’s rights vary by region and country, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of inquiring further about organizational practice when it comes to a media release. Ask when and where information is shared. Is it for internal use only amongst staff? Can it be used commercially?

The answers to these questions should undoubtedly inform your decision. Air on the side of caution and never sign a media release form on behalf of your child without a thorough understanding of its intended use.

Sit down with your child and go through their device application downloads to get a sense of what their digital life looks like.

According to CNBC, by the age of 12, some 50% of children will be using at least one social media platform regularly, the vast majority of which regularly track user data.

A quick Google query will show you that of all applications available in the Google Play Store, TikTok (1), Instagram (3), and Snapchat (6) were among the most downloaded. Let’s take a look at who’s using these apps.

According to BusinessofApps.com, some 60% of TikToks userbase falls between 16-24. It’s important to note that TikTok’s user-guidelines require that the account owner be at least 13 years of age and, if under the age of 18, have their parents consent to use. Is your child under the age of 13 and or using TikTok without your permission? If so, they are technically in violation of TikTok’s terms of service.

The data looks remarkably similar when evaluating Snap Inc’s, Snapchat. The minimum account holder age remains 13 years old with a massive 90% of the userbase falling within the 13 to 24-year-old camp according to Omni Core Agency.

Of the bunch, Instagram did better with older users with Statista claiming only 36% of its userbase falling between the ages of 13-24.

Think before posting.

Setting aside all of the data tracking and predatory practice the web is wrought with for a second, think about your children’s mental well being. If you were anything like me as a child, you carried around a lot of baggage when it came to self-esteem issues. You’d be hard-pressed to find a photo of me under the age of twenty-one with anything close to a smile approaching my face. I was not too fond of photographs to be taken of me, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to consent for it to be shared on the internet. While you may chalk this up to typical teenage angst, remember, your children are people too. Be mindful. Consider their wishes thoughtfully. Share photos with family off of social media when you can.

Did you enjoy today’s read? Come back tomorrow and don’t forget to take your daily dose of privacy.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

How Safe is Your Web-Browser?

Subscribe and Return Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a Dose of Privacy.

Choose your browser wisely.

The browser isn’t nearly as important as your behavior, but like anything else in life, privacy is more accessible when you have a solid foundation to build on.

Let’s start by taking a look at three of the more mainstream browsers (Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer). All three of these browsers have something in common; they’re part of their respective parent company’s new-out-of-the-box set-ups when you purchase a Google, Apple, or Microsoft product. This software to hardware relationship lends to their mass popularity as consumer purchases of electronics mainly favor brands of this ilk.

Google’s Chrome

Image result for google chrome

Chrome seems to be the go-to browser for the casual web-surfer, even when not installed locally at the time of purchase. As of January 2020, Chrome claimed a massive 58.2% of the market. While it’s incredibly user-friendly and widely used, being as it’s a Google application, it’s designed with data tracking functionality being a primary focus. It does, however, have the befit of the most extensive extension library and the incredibly talented mines of Google hard at work to make it a more secure, if not private, user-experience.

Apple’s Safari

Image result for apple safari logo

Safari is excellent in its own right, that is, if you have an Apple product. Safari has some pretty nifty convenience features, including bookmark and history cloud storage, allowing for easy access to this information across devices sharing the same Apple ID. Additionally, Safari makes use of Apple’s iCloud Keychain, which ComputerWorld classifies as highly secure, “Technically, iCloud Keychain is highly secure: Keychain passwords and credit card numbers are encrypted with 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). End to end encryption — your data is protected with a unique (device) key and your device passcode, which only you know. Two-factor authentication is also recommended.” (ComputerWorld.com)

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

Image result for internet explorer logo

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, once a powerhouse holding an unimaginably high market share above 90% in the early 2000s, now holds just 7.2% of all user’s attention. It is important to note that Microsoft has ceased development of the browser. It doesn’t end there, Microsoft’s Security Chief advises that surfing the web with Internet Explorer may put the user in “peril.” These days Microsoft has been working on Edge, a privacy-focused web-browser built on Google’s open source Chromium Project.

Let’s set aside the mainstream browers for a moment while we explore two lesser known, but adored by fan, portals to the web.

Mozilla’s FireFox

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Anecdotally, Firefox seems to be what we at Privacy Daily get in response from most power-privacy users when asking what their daily driver is. Current market-share has Firefox holding onto some 8% of all users, outpacing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer even without a new-out-of-the-box setup on hardware. This bodes well for Firefox, who looks to stand the test of time in the browser wars. In terms of privacy and security, its head and shoulders above the mainstream crowd. Some of my favorite privacy-centric features running stock on Firefox are enhanced tracking protection against data-collection and alerts, letting you know if your information was compromised in another company’s data breach.

Basic Attention Token’s Brave

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Of the five mentioned, Brave, a Chromium-based browser, dons the most robust privacy-focused settings at the time of installation with ever-increasing support and updates built upon this. Being that Brave was built on Google’s open-source Chromium project, Brave is compatible with the beefy extensions library that Chrome is privileged to. Brave has the bonus of letting your web-browsing work for you, and not the other way around with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet that allows for you to make money while watching opt-in advertisements or by receiving tips for the content you create. Tips and ad revenue is paid in BAT (Basic Attention Token).

Private Window with TOR

Other browsers claim to have a “private mode,” but this only hides your history from others using your browser. Brave lets you use Tor right in a tab. Tor not only hides your history, it masks your location from the sites you visit by routing your browsing through several servers before it reaches your destination. These connections are encrypted to increase anonymity.” -Brave

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.

Protecting Your Privacy While Abroad

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Traveling can be wrought with stress. That doesn’t mean there are a few simple safeguards you can put in place to protect your privacy.

Public wifi is basically a honey trap for digital thieves.”

Create a virtual private network on your mobile device with a VPN

Let’s start with virtual private networks.
Suppose you’re at your local Starbucks with twenty or so minutes to kill while Chad, unironic mustache and all, whips up your caramel frap, extra whip, drizzled with chocolate syrup and you quickly decide to make a dent at the three hundred unread emails loitering in your inbox. You search for the wifi, find it under GreenMermaid777, click to join, and are hit with the ambiguous, “Unsecured Network” message. You don’t hesitate. Dismiss. These emails can’t wait. The grind never stops, right?

Why you might want to use a VPN in this instance?
While joined up to an unsecured network, you’ve made yourself incredibly vulnerable to innumerable data tracking schemes and the maligned persons you may very well be sharing a connection with. Let me explain why. From now on, when you read “unsecured”, don’t wonder whether or not it might be safe, assume it isn’t. When you engage with an unsecured network, the data flowing between your machine and the web are unencrypted and up for grabs.

Well, if the wifi is unsecured, what does a VPN do to secure it?
When using a VPN, your data is not moving freely between your machine and the wifi, but instead is being re-routed through a tunnel of sorts, masking your IP address, and broadcasting the information through the VPN totally encrypted and fully secured. No more prying eyes. No more maligned parties.

Here’s a list of best mobile VPN’s for both Android and iPhone:

https://www.cnet.com/news/the-best-mobile-vpns-for-iphone-and-android-compared/

Use messengers that make use of E2EE (end-to-end encryption)

Thanks to one-way functions and double ratchet messaging encryption, communication in the modern age can be incredibly secure even for the technical laymen. Downloading a secure messaging app with all of your companions can take the guess-work out of, “should I be messaging about X while visiting Y? (think dissenting opinions about communism while in China.)” Here are a two you should consider:

For the casual user:

You can’t lose with Open Whisper’s Signal Messenger. Pros: It’s free, easy to use, and has a robust network of users — not to mention the most approved of and vetted cryptographic protocol available when it comes to messaging, today. Cons: Signal currently requires a personal identifier at sign-up. This means a phone number or email that is associated with the application’s user.

https://signal.org/

For the power-privacy user:

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https://odin.chat/

If you’re sold on Signal but have a fundamental problem sharing data involving personal identifiers, you’ll want to consider ODIN.CHAT. This E2EE messenger makes use of the Signal Protocol (the technology that makes Signal so secure in the first place) but requires no personal identifiers from the user, thanks to the ODIN Identity Solution. No phone number, email, name, nothing. Pros: free, easy to use, no personal identifiers. Cons: no current customization for usernames (you’ll have to use your ODIN Identity.) Read more on how ODIN’s Identity solution works.

Buy a dedicated travel phone and laptop

Some places are safer than others. If you’re scared of pick-pockets or can’t afford to lose costly hardware due to lost luggage or a freak accident, you might want to consider purchasing a spare phone or laptop. Thanks to the smartphone arms race, amazingly specced phones can be had for a few hundred U.S. dollars (especially if you’re willing to pick one up second hand). When it comes to a personal computer, your decision might be framed by your individual needs. If its Netflix, light browsing, and email you’re worried about, consider picking up a Chromebook.

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

Random Human Entropy Used for Secure Identity Generation

Subscribe and Return Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a Dose of Privacy.

ODIN.Chat a Secure, Blockchain-Powered, Decentralized-Messenger

ODIN wants you to own your conversation. Having realized the potential for a doomsday scenario where massive leaks of personal data lead to real-world consequences, ODIN Blockchain decided to do something about it and built ODIN.Chat, a blockchain-powered, secure messenger with the end user’s privacy in mind.

Definitions

Entropy — a measure of the number of possible arrangements the atoms in a system can have. In this sense, entropy is a measure of uncertainty or randomness. (eoht.info)

Human Entropy can be used as an extension of this. E.g. the randomness of human movement.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposal [BIP]— is a design document for introducing features or information to Bitcoin. The BIP should provide a concise technical specification of the attribute and a rationale for the feature. This is the standard way of communicating ideas since Bitcoin has no formal structure.

There are three types of BIPs
1. Standards Track BIPs — Changes to the network protocol, block or transaction validation, or anything affecting interoperability.

2. Informational BIPs — Design issues, general guidelines. This type of BIP is NOT for proposing new features and do not represent community consensus

3. Process BIPs — Describes or proposes a change in process. Similar to Standards BIPs but apply outside the Bitcoin protocol. (Bitcoin.it.wiki)

Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets [HD Wallets] — wallets which can be shared partially or entirely with different systems, each with or without the ability to spend coins. (GitHub.com)

While BIPs, particularly that of BIP 32, was created by the Bitcoin community, many chains, including ODIN’s Blockchain, make use of them because the structure is sound and often cross-compatible.

A High-Level Overview of How HD Wallets Can Be Used Outside the Use of Coin Spends

If you’re anything like me, you see the word wallet and immediately think, “the storing of a currency to be exchanged or spent.” While that may be true, for the duration of this article, suspend that notion in favor of this: Heirachecial Deterministic Wallets can and in fact are often used for the function of Child Key Derivations (both public and private) — which can in turn act as a method of generating a unique identifier ala your ODIN.CHAT unique user ID.

BIP 32 Infographic Showing from Root (Master Node) to Varying Branch Structures

BIP 32 Changes

  • Added private derivation for i ≥ 0x80000000 (less risk of parent private key leakage)
  • Switched from multiplication by IL to addition of IL (faster, easier implementation)
  • Added test vectors
  • Rename keys with index ≥ 0x80000000 to hardened keys, and add explicit conversion functions.
  • Added test vectors for hardened derivation with leading zeros

Additional Variables Ensuring Anonymity via both Controlled and Random Variables

Upon completion of installation, via a combination of both controlled and random variables, you will be granted an eight-character alphanumeric ODIN ID. (e.g. 8Y2NKZ3D@ODIN) let’s discuss how this ID comes to be.

Before we get started, here’s a list of things we don’t ask for when you use our product: your name, your date of birth, your address, we don’t even ask for your email address, all of which other companies see as revenue when you sign up. We don’t even ask you to create a username and risk being linked to other accounts that might share certain features of that name. It truly is private.

So how do we do it?

I discussed previously the use of BIP32 and its ability to create Child Key Derivations (both public and private) and how those can be used to generate a unique identifier. We didn’t see this as being enough, so we’ve added a few more variables which I’ll list off now:

Environmental Properties
-Device Make / Model
-Time / Date of Generation
-Device Screen Size

Random Human Input Properties
-Random User Finger Movement Across the Screen

The final step in generating your unique eight-character alphanumeric ODIN ID calls for you (the user) to add human-driven entropy (random finger movements across the screen) as a final input. This movement, while *potentially* theoretically able to be replicated (*I’d argue heavily against this as human dexterity and timing doesn’t allow for mirrored replication of motion to the millisecond), matters not when combined with the environmental properties of the device make and model, time and date of generation, and the like. All variables are then compiled and hashed using an algorithm which uses the address itself as the *salt.

*In password protection, salt is a random string of data used to modify a password hash. Salt can be added to the hash to prevent a collision by uniquely identifying a user’s password, even if another user in the system has selected the same password. Salt can also be added to make it more difficult for an attacker to break into a system by using password hash-matching strategies because adding salt to a password hash prevents an attacker from testing known dictionary words across the entire system. (TechTarget.com)Where do I find out more about ODIN?

About the author

Christopher Reeder is ODIN Blockchain’s Lead Content Strategist and Technical Writer. As an advocate and researcher, he is exploring technology’s impact on privacy.

Interested in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technologies? Join the ODIN community!

All community ongoings and official support take place on the ODIN Reddit. Free to join — get involved now!

Read more about how to get Ø(ODIN) here.

ODIN.CHAT is available now on the Google Play Store.