India is witnessing a personal data revolution with the rapid growth in data collection driven by consumer, enterprise, and government initiatives. According to a Gemalto report, in 2017, India experienced the second-highest number of data breaches across the world, accounting for approx 37% of the overall data breaches.
To discuss more, The Tech Panda spoke to Shiv Malik, Head of Growth at Streamr, a global marketplace and decentralized network for real-time data. The distributed, open-source, software project aims to create a platform to trade and distribute information while allowing people to regain control of the data they produce.
We’re looking at a world, where the Internet-first generation can become the gatekeepers of their own data without having to deal with nuanced over-complicated policies, illicit data hacks, and the general helplessness to the effects of centralized data gatherers
“We’re looking at a world, where the Internet-first generation can become the gatekeepers of their own data without having to deal with nuanced over-complicated policies, illicit data hacks, and the general helplessness to the effects of centralized data gatherers,” he says.
Today, with big brands like WhatsApp, Slack, and Mailchimp giving consumers freemium access to their products and services in exchange for their data, the relationship between businesses and consumers is getting hampered by over-complicated privacy policies.
Read more: Streamr
“It isn’t common knowledge what happens to this data, and how it is utilized. However, with Streamr, consumers and businesses of all shapes and sizes come together to form Data Unions – a place where data is gathered with consent and sold in an organized marketplace. Consumers are empowered, they know how their data is utilized, and they are rewarded for the same,” he explains.
There clearly is a need to understand the reality of the data economy and for a more ethical consent-based system. In 2017, 147 million Equifax customers became victim to stolen data. In 2018, 162 million email addresses, usernames, PBKDF2 password hashes, and other personal data were stolen from Dubsmash and sold on the Dream Market dark web market.
“It is not all that bad in itself, but consumers are the fuel for today’s data centric world, and we need to ensure that their data is treated ethically. These points in history leave us with a resounding cry for ethics, change, innovation, and accountability among data aggregators. Need we say more?” he asks.
A Global Decentralized P2P Network for Real-Time Data
Streamr´s mission is to replace centralized message brokers with a global, decentralized, peer-to-peer network for real-time data. By implementing cryptography instead of trust, the open-source network enables data sharing and monetization in IoT and smart cities, business consortia, individual crowd selling through Data Unions, and the Web 3.0.
Streamr allows users to discover new ethical business models for user data with scalable crowdsourced data sets — Data Unions. Its data unions with fishermen in the Philippines, and user base in Turkey are examples of how strengthening the community to own and trade their information empowers them.
In the Streamr network, data owners can use and sell their data as they wish. Machines and people can trade data and create an ecosystem around real-time data
“Currently, the world’s data is in silos, or held and monetized by a handful of giant corporations. Data is either being underutilized, or its value doesn’t end up with the producer of the data. In the Streamr network, data owners can use and sell their data as they wish. Machines and people can trade data and create an ecosystem around real-time data,” Malik explains.
The data travels in a decentralized P2P network with nodes incentivized by the Streamr DATA token. The Streamr Network is a blockchain agnostic companion network for massively scalable data transport. Existing blockchain ecosystems are used for payments, identity, and access control.
“Our efforts are driven towards helping businesses understand that there is an alternative to the current centralized methods of capturing data and that we’re here to help them not only safeguard their customer data, but also help them build value-driven relationships with their customer base,” he adds.
The Streamr Philosophy
Streamr itself doesn’t sell data. They only provide infrastructure, which they hope incentivizes best practices when it comes to ethically selling data. By crowd-selling together with their users´ businesses they hope to educate and reward their customers.
Users should always have a choice whether they want to sell their data or not
“Users should always have a choice whether they want to sell their data or not. We support Data Union builders on top of our stack which in our opinion fulfil these kinds of criteria,” says Malik.
Data Privacy in the Crypto Space
Blockchain tech opens up so many avenues where real-time data is captured and used to create purposeful interactions. Malik says the best way to ensure that user data privacy is safeguarded is through enabling consent and incentivizing it.
The best way to ensure that user data privacy is safeguarded is through enabling consent and incentivizing it
Streamr does this effectively as a scalable real-time messaging system. It enables applications and devices such as IoT sensors or connected cars to publish and trade their data.
“Coming up this summer, we will open up the Network to community members to run their own nodes, which means a further decentralization of the Network,” Malik says.
Streamr’s Plans in India
Having just wrapped up the Streamr India Data Challenge with the support of Lumos Labs – an innovation management startup, Malik says Streamr is looking forward to focus on India.
They have also announced the winners at the Demo Day – Vidhira by Team Aathmanirbhar. This team, along with 23 other teams who participated in the Data Challenge, successfully integrated with Streamr to create Data Unions.
We’re certain that this is an area where we can help make a difference in the lives of consumers and businesses alike and encourage innovators to wield Streamr to create a future, where data privacy is secure
“This encourages us to continue in our efforts to focus on India and the talented community that we’ve gathered here. We brought together over 200 teams who also concur with our vision to create meaningful data economies powered by decentralization, inclusion, and incentivization. We’re certain that this is an area where we can help make a difference in the lives of consumers and businesses alike and encourage innovators to wield Streamr to create a future, where data privacy is secure,” he concludes.