At the 2015 Academy awards Citizen Four won the Oscar for Documentary Feature. The film is comprised of excerpts recorded by Laura Poitras during Edward Snowden’s exposure of the US intelligence organization National Security Agency’s illegal surveillance activities. Edward Snowden proved that the NSA was gathering mass-data globally on ordinary citizens without consent. This data is feely accessible by NSA employees. The bottom line was the exposure of the largest ever breach of privacy, rights and the American constitution.
“I can’t in good conscious allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building” – Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden joins the list of whistle blowers including Chelsea (formerly Bradley) manning as people who have come forward in recent years to expose illegal and/or immoral action of governments.
Whistleblowers are being persecuted, seeking asylum or being exiled from their sovereign countries for their actions of bringing this information to public light. But they are not going away. Now due to digital currencies (yes like bitcoin) they have more reason to come forward with their classified tales of hypocrisy than just ‘good conscience’.
Within the last month there have been two game changing developments in this field of information sharing.
Slur.io and Darkleaks have provided platforms to provide anonymity and monetary incentive towards whistleblowers, something which has never been done before. They cannot be shut down, have no authority to jail and cannot be censored. They have created a marketplace for information without discrimination. Anyone can log in and sell information.
“The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide” – President Barack Obama
People who had secrets to share were priorly only incentivized by social and moral benefits; there was no marketplace to sell information. Now people can share secrets for financial reward: from industry secrets, copyright material, blueprints to digital media. There is no limit to what can be shared, secrets now have a pricetag.
The process works by creating an anonymous marketplace, where information is encrypted and posted, the highest bidder gets the keys to decrypt the information in exchange for bitcoins. If there’s an issue with the content not being as described, then the transaction goes to through a process of review by an arbitration panel, the transaction is either reversed or confirmed based upon their consensus.
The platform to facilitate these transactions is completely legal and considered protective free speech. The people that break the law are the parties that buy and sell the information, but these people remain anonymous through the platform.
With every new technology there’s the potential for good and bad. The internet saw free sharing of information and the NSA use it to create the largest spying network ever. This new technology called bitcoin is changing this landscape once again; it just created the information marketplace. Now people don’t just share secrets, they sell them.