• Breaking Google’s monopoly: Internxt promotes decentralized cloud as privacy fears grow

  • According to Internxt’s Fran Villalba Segarra, data monopolists such as Google have abused their position. A solution is provided by decentralized architecture.

    Blockchain-based file storage service that prioritizes privacy. Internxt has a lofty goal: to use decentralized technology to disrupt Big Tech’s monopoly on user data. Its first product, Internxt Drive, aims to compete with Google Drive and Dropbox while maintaining personal privacy and data ownership.

    Internxt CEO Fran Villalba Segarra described the core technology behind his product and explained why privacy should be considered a fundamental human right in an exclusive interview with ULTCOIN365. He also discussed the dangers of centralized architecture, why Big Tech constantly violates user privacy, and what the future holds for internet users in the Web 3.0 era.

    Privacy-as-a-human-right

    Although privacy advocates have long been concerned about Big Tech’s misuse of user data, the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 blew the lid off the subject. (To recap, Cambridge Analytica is a British consulting firm that obtained data on millions of Facebook users without their consent.) Their data was then used in political advertising.) The Federal Trade Commission fined the social media behemoth $5 billion in July 2019 for privacy violations.

    In retrospect, exploits such as Cambridge Analytica did not surprise Segarra, who told ULTCOIN365 that protecting users’ privacy contradicts the business models of companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. “As a result, these companies collect more data than is actually required,” he explained. “Their services aren’t an end in themselves, but rather a means to an end.”

    “Service for zero-knowledge file storage”

    Segarra and his team were compelled to develop a new business model based on decentralization as a result of Big Tech’s erosion of personal privacy. Internxt Drive, the company’s first product, is described as a zero-knowledge encryption and geodistributed data center alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox. He elaborated:

    “File uploads to Internxt Drive are fragmented, client-side encrypted, and distributed globally, so that a server never holds a complete file, but rather an encrypted data shard […] Files are frequently divided into evenly sized segments of data in these architectures. Each segment or block has its own address but no metadata describing what it is. The storage target can be set up to replicate data between storage arrays or distributed file systems.”

    In contrast to centralized systems, in which user data is stored on physical servers owned and operated by the cloud provider, decentralized architecture provides enhanced security in terms of cloud functionality.

    “If a decentralized component is compromised or encounters a runtime error, which is an unrecoverable worst-case scenario in which the component goes offline while the rest of the cloud continues to operate normally,” he explained. Core functions, on the other hand, are intertwined within the same space in centralized cloud storage systems. “If an error or attack destabilizes a centralized component, the entire cloud is jeopardized.”

    The Internet of Things and the Future of Privacy

    Web 3 — a broad concept referring to a new paradigm of internet services in which users retain more control over their personal data — has been heralded as a possible solution to society’s growing privacy concerns. The current paradigm, dubbed Web 2, is primarily driven by businesses that offer services in exchange for personal information.

    With the advent of blockchain technology, decentralization has become nearly synonymous with Web 3. Internxt’s decentralized cloud storage technology aligns with the narrative that Web 3 changes the very nature of data ownership and places more control in the hands of users rather than Big Tech companies. Industry observers have correctly noted that this new paradigm may put existing privacy regulations to the test, especially as the number of decentralized applications grows.

    “Web 3 will undoubtedly be huge,” Segarra predicted, adding that consumer-centric applications that allow users to protect themselves online will be “hugely demanded by the market.”

    Internxt recently completed a successful seed round, raising $1 million led by Miami-based venture fund Venture City. Segarra stated that adoption is increasing, with the company expecting 1,500 percent year-over-year growth by the end of 2021.

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