Problems with Data Privacy in the Web 2.0 World and Solutions with the Advent of Web 3.0
The world is moving quickly thanks to ever-growing technological advancements. The world wide web is included in this evolution of the tech world. We’ve witnessed the web move from the first version (Web1), having limited content creators and static pages to the second version (Web2) with increased content where information is easily transmitted between site users and owners. Although the birth of Web2 brought a wonderful experience for most web users, it has some shortcomings.
Data privacy is a major concern for Web2 Users. Let’s delve into Web2 and examine challenges with data privacy, data trade, and data collection.
Data Privacy Issues on Web2
One of the human races’ most valuable assets is data. Everyone must value every detail linked to them or any data that share information about them. This is a unit of information about an individual or group that can be collected, analyzed, and reported. On the other hand, privacy protects users’ data from those who must not have access to it. This means having control over the number of personal details made available to the public while using Web2. The architecture of Web2 is designed to allow users to participate actively, which has caused several problems as third parties can easily access individuals’ personal information. Some of the issues experienced with Web2 are listed below:
1. Identity Theft
This occurs when a Web2 user’s sensitive personal information, such as their name, address, card number, and identity number, is collected by another individual without authorization to commit fraud. Often the victims aren’t aware that their details have been used, as this information about them is made accessible by the technologies in the Web2 ecosystem. According to the FTC, identity theft incidents have increased, with a record increase of 45% in 2020.
Web2 is user-friendly but entails a high degree of user tracking through technology. This tech uses the information provided by the users to keep a watch on them and monitor their online footprint. A single click on Web2 captures the visited website with information such as the last session, time spent online, preferences, and social media shares. This information is often collected in technology known as “cookies”. Most websites now display complex cookie collection terms which are often too difficult for an ordinary user to decipher. Most users typically click “Accept All” without reading the specifics and have now agreed that their data can be collected and potentially sold to third parties. Advertising companies often use this information for marketing and advertising purposes.
The vulnerability of Web2 users is one issue that must be addressed. As internet users are increasing sporadic, there’s a parallel increase in the number of users’ data that can be accessed. This information makes users prone to different forms of cyber attacks. Every day, millions of individuals are exposed to various cyber crimes online because of their online footprint.
Sometimes data obtained from Web2 users can be used by government agencies to monitor their activities. Let’s imagine Pete and an online Crypto trader in a country where Cryptocurrency is banned. Interacting with Web2 leaves an online trace and makes it easy for Pete to be monitored. The increased surveillance rate has made many web2 users seek online tools that can keep them anonymous online. According to cloudware, over 70% of internet users use such online tools.
5. Abuse of Individuals Data
When Web2 users’ Data are not kept private, abuse is inevitable. Although there are few exceptions, it’s difficult for individuals to control the amount of information that is seen on the internet. When this information is applied in a way beyond its original purpose, it can lead to irreparable harm to the reputation of the Web2 user.
Data Trade in the Web2 Ecosystem
Exchanging products or services for rewards is what we primarily consider trade. The act of trading is as old as human existence, although it has improved since the advent of technology. Every day on the Web2 Ecosystem, users’ data is traded by certain top-tier companies with access to this information. As Web2 users visit web pages for their desired information or interact with their favorite social media, or fill out online forms, they leave behind an electronic trail, including their names, gender, phone numbers, address, and even banking details. Certain entities, otherwise known as Data Brokers, access this data through special tracking software (data collection technologies) installed on those web pages. They put together this data to build a detailed picture of users and then sell it to other brokers and companies requiring such information for commercial purposes like marketing and advertising, health insurance, and risk mitigation. This data can also be converted into zip files and made available on data broker’s sites from which the public can have access. To get this information, different data collection techniques are at the disposal of data brokers. Let’s learn about a few of them.
Data Collection Techniques Used
1 Cookies: These are text files with minute pieces of information linked to internet users. Cookies designed for tracking stay longer and can capture users’ usernames and passwords and give an overall user experience on websites.
2 Embedded Scripts: This is programming code that monitors and collects information about visitors when interacting with a given website. They are made up of strings of numbers and letters and can only be used by a third party for online tracking.
3 Tracking Pixels (Embedded Scripts): These are tiny graphic images with dimensions of 1x1 pixels that are present on Web pages and are used for tracking users’ activities on websites. Tracking Pixels are designed to fit the website’s background, making it difficult for users to notice that they’re being tracked.
4 Tracking Tags: These are pieces of code that are added to a website URL providing website owners with information regarding user behavior and web traffic.
5 Browser Fingerprinting: This is a method of tracking users’ activities online. It provides information about the user’s browser type and version, operating system, time zone, language, screen resolution, and other active settings.
Data Privacy Solutions With Advent of Web3 and Metaverse
As users seek the best possible solution to data privacy in Web2, the emergence of Web3 cannot be ignored. Web3 is the third generation of the world wide web that’s decentralized.
The beauty of Web3 is the solution it brings to data privacy. The decentralized nature of Web3 restricts third parties from accessing user data and leaves data control in the hands of users. This also means no platform can access this information without gaining consent from users.
Although currently going through a developmental stage, the emergence of Web3 and Metaverse has significantly been welcomed, and many projects have delved into it, providing Users with much-needed control over their data. One Web3 platform that allows users complete control over their data while allowing them to trade this data is Itheum.
Itheum is the world’s first decentralized, cross-chain data brokerage platform that empowers data ownership in the Web3 and Metaverse ecosystems. This platform uses top-notch data tools to bridge user data from Web2 to Web3 and allows peer-to-peer sales of the data on a cross-chain data marketplace.
Itheum users can build highly customizable personal data using the flexible collection and analytics toolkit on their platform and make this data available for those who want to trade them. They can also discover and access high-value data and insights via primary and secondary data markets.
Some of the tech stack that Itheum offers that gives Web3 users full control over their Data includes:
Data Collection and Analytics toolkit (Data CAT); This makes it easy for anyone to create apps and programs that can collect structured and rich personal data from users and also provide visual trends and patterns on the collected data. Data CAT makes this process completely anonymous without any trace to the user who generated the original data. gaming, health and wellness companies as well as financial companies can embed Itheum Data CAT in their apps, making it easy for easy data collection whilst keeping users
The Data DEX
Itheum has developed a hybrid on/off-chain model for data brokerage. This model is the first of its kind to allow its users to trade, verify and accredit data ownership on-chain while the data is stored off-chain.
A core part of this model and a core product is their Data DEX (decentralized exchange) which directly facilitates the peer-to-peer cross-chain trading of your personal data with others within the Itheum community. The DEX ensures that the data is verified first, hashed and encrypted, making it viable for advertisement and discoverability on-chain. After hashing and encryption, we upload the data to a centralized, private, and secure location. Despite the concept of decentralization in Web 3, Itheum understands that data storage has to be centralized to achieve data sovereignty and security as blockchains are fully open and transparent.
The Data DEX comes with various components
1. P2P Trading
2. Data NFTs
3. Data Coalition DAOs
4. Personal Data Proofs
5. Data Vaults
NFMe ID (Non-Fungible Me) ID:
This is a customized digital avatar built using NFT technology backed by users’ original data. Itheum users can mint their NFMe ID by joining the Itheum Data DEX and completing a seed profiler job. With Itheum NFMe ID, users can make their data accessible to others who will in return share reward them based on the value of their data. Users can also give the DAO access to their NFMe ID, enabling them to trade data on their behalf. You can read more about Itheum NFMe ID here
As the name suggests, Data NFTs are unique and one-of-a-kind datasets wrapped into a non-fungible token to allow seamless validation and exchange. Essentially, any dataset can be unique, mainly because everyone’s data is different, where owners uniquely experience various effects and influences.
Itheum’s Data NFTs will allow you to become the valid owner of your data, allowing you to fully control its exchange. This means that data owners can trade their data with their preferred end-user, adding value to it and widening their market for data, as data NFTs can be traded on any NFT marketplace.
The Greenroom Protocol: This is Itheum’s initiative for a more interactive cross Metaverse avatar. It’s a waiting room where users’ NFMe ID will exist in 3D. In Greenroom, users will be able to organize their accessories and other NFMe ID characters and trade these accessories whilst interacting with them. The Greenroom is where the “Itheum Data Metaverse” will integrate with other metaverse platforms like The Sandbox.
Itheum empowers data ownership in the Web3 and Metaverse ecosystems and creates new market value for your data. It enables this by providing “decentralized data brokerage” technology. It’s a suite of tools that enables high-value data to be bridged from web2 to web3 and then be traded via peer-to-peer sales. It allows for “viral adoption” via our creative “Data NFTs” (provide “inner value” to NFTs and enable royalties / limited supply) and “NFMe ID” technology (a living Metaverse avatar representation of you — wrapped as an NFT and backed by personal data) and our innovative Data Coalition DAOs (which bulk trades your data). It also aims to be fully privacy-preserving, regulation-friendly, and cross-chain, making it the most comprehensive core blockchain data infrastructure available in the market with use-cases in both the enterprise and retail space.
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