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Mysterium Network’s Robertas Visinskis on data privacy and security in the blockchain era

Tony Zerucha

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Decentralized technology has great potential to help data privacy and security. One of the people helping to maximize its potential in these areas is Robertas Visinskis, founder of Mysterium Network, the world’s first decentralized VPN blockchain project.

Learn more about Mr. Visinskis in the below Q&A

 

Give me some background on yourself and the company – what were the moments that have shaped your career and Mysterium?

My name is Robertas Visinskis and I am the founder of Mysterium Network, an open source, not-for-profit foundation focused on security and privacy, and the world’s first decentralized VPN blockchain project. With over 13 years of experience in IT, I previously served as CEO and CTO of Trustribe, and CTO and head of product design at Meta Group. I also serve as an advisor to blockchain projects Edgeless, Monetha, Iungo and Birdchain.  

“Mysterium Network is a fast and scalable transport security layer which uses multi-hops, relays, and an inbuilt micropayments tokenomic model to build a peer-to-peer, serverless network, designed to provide privacy restoring techniques to its users and financial incentives to its node operators (providers).” Please expand on this to describe what makes Mysterium unique.

Mysterium Network will act as a decentralized bandwidth marketplace between users and nodes. It aims to be a fully decentralized, peer-to-peer serverless node network, designed to help unblock content in regions with internet censorship. By building a marketplace where nodes can sell their unused bandwidth to users – we will be creating financial incentives for Mysterium Node Runners.

Our first use case is MysteriumVPN which is currently available in alpha on Android, Mac, and Windows. We have implemented both OpenVPN and Wireguard Protocols as services within our VPN to date. Our roadmap includes implementation of multi hops which simply put, means jumping the traffic across more than one node before exiting the network into the internet. This will help obfuscate where the traffic is coming from and is one of the means by which we will be aiding with user privacy.

Robertas Visinskis

Your website makes statements about the impact on freedom and human rights. How have you been impacted and what are your biggest concerns with what you see happening in the world?

The internet in its current state is neither open nor private, and my biggest concerns with what I see happening in the world right now is how privacy is being impeded by key players such as internet service providers and nation-states.

Internet service providers have become unhinged in their objective to monitor, track, and profile every user across the internet. The daily browsing activities, communications, and habits of each user is consolidated and sold to advertisers, with little to no conscious consent of the users and with a complete disregard for any notion of personal privacy. In the same way, nation-states consistently monitor internet traffic so they can construct political profiles of its citizens. In such a paradigm, dissent becomes dangerous, and honest political discord becomes an impossibility in certain countries.

How aware is the average person of how their privacy is impacted and how the data they generate is being used? How do we as a society become wiser?

Public awareness of privacy and, more importantly, how it’s being violated, has come under the spotlight over the last 12 months with data breaches from tech and social media giants dominating headlines. This, coupled with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe in May 2018, has helped to fuel greater awareness of privacy, and while people are becoming increasingly aware of their online presence and digital footprint, we still have a long way to go.

Creating a society that is wiser when it comes to privacy starts with understanding the boundaries that we should have in order to keep ourselves and our data safe. With more and more data breaches exposed over the last few months, including Cambridge Analytica, Starwood Hotels and British Airways, the reality is slowly but surely starting to hit home with the public.

How do we as a society address these increasingly powerful companies compiling and using our data?

One way to do this is by educating ourselves on how to safeguard our data. Europe introducing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year was certainly a welcome move as it has helped create the architecture for individuals to know what exactly their rights are, who they are submitting their data to, and what it is being used for.

Are governments prepared to allow increased privacy? What healthy steps should they take to address this issue?

There has been a shift in the public consciousness when it comes to how personal data is dealt with.

We are seeing governments and corporations start to take the privacy of the end user more and more seriously. We are also taking part in the Odyssey Hackathon, teaming up with other startups within the privacy ecosystem to help solve real-world privacy challenges with our open source technology.

Your goal is to have no central servers by 2020. What will it take to get you there?

As a startup looking to create a marketplace for the future, we are aware that we will have to test, learn, fail, and pivot fast. Our current focus is on building up a user base for our dVPN alphas on Android, Mac, and Windows – this is so that we can test the network while on testnet before we transition across to mainnet.

We are also extremely focused on growing our network of nodes and creating a frictionless onboarding journey so that becoming a Mysterium Node Runner is something that anyone can do from their homes.

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha is an alternative finance journalist with more than seven years experience in the space. The author of more than 1,000 articles, Tony was named LendIt's 2018 Journalist of the Year.

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