Privacy Lab: Jay Freeman on "How to Get a Dystopia"

Apple/Samsung owns your phone. Google/Facebook owns your data.
Amazon/Microsoft owns your network. It seems we are no longer able to
conceptualize technology without deciding "who owns it?". Do you want a
dystopia? Because that's how you get a dystopia.


Jay Freeman, widely known online as "saurik", is the developer of Cydia,
the alternative to the App Store used on jailbroken iPhones, iPads, and the
iPod touch. Substrate, the platform he provides developers to alter the
behavior of running programs by way of runtime in-memory patching, has been
used by many thousands of developers and deployed to tens of millions of

Jay's largely-academic background is in networking, static analysis, and
programming languages, which have resulted in nmap+V (which brought "what
version of what software is running on the remote computer?" to nmap in
2000), Exemplar/Anakrino (the first decompiler for .NET, released in 2001
while .NET was still only available to beta testers), and Cycript (a hybrid
of Objective-C and JavaScript that is often used to explore the behavior of
running programs).

In 2017, along with Brian Fox, Gustav Simonsson, Stephen Bell, and Steve
Waterhouse, Jay co-founded Orchid, a new peer-to-peer protocol and
associated organization with a goal of ensuring surveillance-free access to
the Internet for everyone, everywhere. Orchid combines monetary incentives
(using a cryptocurrency) with design decisions that give users a feeling of
"control" over their Internet connection with a fully-decentralized
protocol to build a secure market for bandwidth.

When you hear about tradeoffs related to freedom, privacy, security, or
even simply quality, too often the discussion is highly theoretical and we
lose people to arguments over "well, that will never happen". In fact,
there have been enough concrete and documented failures--places where the
software development community has accidentally enabled discrimination or
even directly been forced to support oppressive regimes--that we can learn
quite a bit even limiting ourselves to only what we can glean from major
news headlines.

Attendees of this talk will hopefully obtain a new appreciation of just how
important it is to design decentralized and federated protocols, even when
ostensibly building systems that are "secure, yet centralized" (such as
Signal and even Tor), culminating in a description of Orchid, a
just-announced open-source platform that takes direct aim at Internet

Start time:
Location: Live Remote - Pacific Time
Duration: 1 hour 31 minutes
Channels: Main, Privacy

Tags: surveillance, privacy lab, blockchain, encryption, privacy

Views since archived: 132

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