Digital Privacy Is A Valuable Commodity In An Era of Surveillance and Censorship

By Steven Maxwell

The modern tools of connectivity, innovation, research, and freedom of expression offered to us in the digital age have been turned against us. This clearly is a sad state of affairs when worded so bluntly, but it is also an opportunity for us to learn where we might have gone wrong and accept some responsibility, even in small part, about our current predicament.

Yes, we have been lied to about data security; we have had our most intimate conversations scooped up by robot algorithms and catalogued for all time; and we have had our intellectual pursuits and livelihoods stymied by overt censorship based on thought crimes in the digital realm.  However, largely in the name of entertainment and convenience, we have handed over our information to centralized systems that are not equipped to handle the many nuances of the free individual. Moreover, not only do we consent through participation, but we now very often pay our hard-earned money for compromised devices marketed by compromised companies. There is no longer the need for the digital backdoor; some of us have happily opened the front door and rolled out the welcome mat.

That said, I do sense a widespread uneasiness growing with each new revelation about what is being collected on each of us and where it goes without our consent.  Even some of my family and friends who have been in the “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about” department are starting to wonder if things have gone too far. For the rest of us who have been paying close attention, we can begin to educate those who might not yet understand why the right to remain anonymous is so fundamental to preserving personal sovereignty as well as personal security.

My mom, for example, is nearly as outraged as I am about the censorship taking place in media, as well as the near-total surveillance in modern society, but not long ago fell victim to identity theft and had her life turned completely upside-down in an instant. This is a gap that still exists for far too many people. The truth is that it is much more likely for the average person to be the victim of identity theft or some other form of petty cybercrime than to have an intelligence agency target their every written and spoken word. Yet how many people are aware of the many tools available that can greatly reduce all of these modern threats?

At the front line of personal digital security is how one chooses to access the Internet in the first place. Privacy has become a valuable commodity, where before it was so taken for granted that only free services would be considered.  And, yet, the average person shells out thousands per year in various forms of other insurance (often grossly overpriced, and never needed or delivered satisfactorily).

A VPN essentially encrypts and re-routes your traffic to eliminate IP restrictions and other methods of geolocation and identification. This can help reduce the threat of cybercrime as well as censorship because it makes it much more difficult for anyone to access your info based on data collected to identify you as a potential target. VPNs are seen as threats in countries like China that are at the forefront of government censorship and surveillance precisely because VPNs are effective. This review can help you learn more about VPNs, should you need to set one up.

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As concern about privacy has risen across the planet, so has competition among companies who want to deliver products geared to consumer protection. This has resulted in much easier to use, more efficient, and far more effective tools. New VPNs are easy to set up, have real customer support, can be used on nearly any device and are perfectly compatible with all of the entertainment products we have come to enjoy. Essentially, almost all of the compromise has been removed.

The Blockchain is another area that holds great promise for a range of digital protection, especially as the world continues to transition to the Internet of Things.  The current vulnerabilities of smart technology are completely unacceptable despite the race to 5G which will only supercharge the connectivity of smart home devices, government infrastructure, and even military systems. Some experts have put the current fail rate at 75%!

The Blockchain also offers new means of publishing and accessing information that is being used more widely now that we are seeing certain independent voices being de-platformed (censored) by establishment media and social media companies often taking their directives from government. A new BCH-powered blockchain initiative called Bookchain is going so far as to say that this technology can “protect literature from a dystopian future.”

“Items on the blockchain cannot be subject to censorship, banning or silencing for the duration of the internet,” Bookchain’s creator details on the platform’s website.

Our colleagues over at Anti-Media recently partnered with LBRY for publishing their entire website on The Blockchain. Nick Bernabe, founder of Anti-Media, commented on this exciting new technology.

These new tools from LBRY will insulate Anti-Media from the corporate censorship we’ve recently been dealing with from Facebook and Twitter. Now our fans can find all of our content on, a decentralized hub for our publishing, and our team will never lose access to our work again.

We must admit that we’ve been a bit complacent and maybe a bit naive thus far, but new tools have been created to help educate us about how serious the threats have become to our personal freedom. It is time that we fully realize exactly how  valuable our privacy is and what we can do to contribute to its defense.

Image credit: Pixabay

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