Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Or listen in your favorite podcast app

Apple Podcasts  /  Google Podcasts Spotify

There is no way to sugar coat it: consumers are nervous about their privacy. And rightfully so. There is a trail of data bread crumbs you leave behind wherever you go, and people are watching and following along — some with good intentions, but not all.  The internet as we know it is controlled by centralized networks, but one company is helping change the playing field by taking away the power of those networks and offering it to the masses.

“You shouldn’t have to be a security expert to know what applications you use in order to have the level of privacy that you prefer,” Dr. Waterhouse said. “We believe that things like a decentralized VPN are a step in the direction of decentralizing a lot of different kinds of messaging and communication platforms. There are definitely very layered challenges in what that means.”

Dr. Steven Waterhouse is the CEO of Orchid Labs, an open-source decentralized VPN system that is allowing users to shield themselves from internet lurkers following their every move. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Steven describes what this open-source system could look like, and he dives into the rising tide of privacy issues, why regulation has gone too far, and the benefits of an open-source system.

Main Takeaways

  • Power to the Users: Over the last few years, a rising tide of privacy concerns has continued to swell amongst internet users. By decentralizing communication, and masking a person’s ability to be tracked, users can freely surf the web without being worried about a third party tracking them or selling their data. 
  • What’s Mine Is Yours: As an open-source system, Orchid’s VPN code is made freely to be distributed around the world. This is important because the company believes that decentralized VPNs are a key component of creating a decentralized internet.
  • Crypto-for-VPN? Since Orchid Labs allows its users to layer their VPN usage — which means they could be connected to multiple VPN sites at a time — the company uses a form of cryptocurrency as a central payment method, as opposed to using a credit card system. By using cryptocurrency instead of credit cards, users are able to free-send coins back and forth without a central authority figure and without a paper trail of data. —–

For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.


There is no way to sugar coat it: consumers are nervous about their privacy. And rightfully so. There is a trail of data bread crumbs you leave behind wherever you go, and people are watching and following along — some with good intentions, but not all.  The internet as we know it is controlled by centralized networks, but one company is helping change the playing field by taking away the power of those networks and offering it to the masses.

“You shouldn’t have to be a security expert to know what applications you use in order to have the level of privacy that you prefer,” Dr. Waterhouse said. “We believe that things like a decentralized VPN are a step in the direction of decentralizing a lot of different kinds of messaging and communication platforms. There are definitely very layered challenges in what that means.”

Dr. Steven Waterhouse is the CEO of Orchid Labs, an open-source decentralized VPN system that is allowing users to shield themselves from internet lurkers following their every move. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Steven describes what this open-source system could look like, and he dives into the rising tide of privacy issues, why regulation has gone too far, and the benefits of an open-source system. 

Founded in 2017, Orchid Labs’ mission is about reclaiming the internet, a source of information that it believes used to spur curiosity and allow users to explore freely. But as the internet changed, the rules of its use were altered as well, and businesses began infringing on users’ rights by tracking and selling their data while simultaneously limiting the information they can see. Orchid hopes to give the power of the internet back to the users by building a community of decentralized VPN users.

“One of the biggest centralized points of control is communications,” he said. “The idea of a decentralized VPN is that you can have multiple providers and decentralize the point of connection for you to the internet.”

The benefits of a decentralized VPN network include the fact that users across the world have the ability to mask their IP address, thus allowing them to surf and communicate amongst the internet freely without having to worry about if someone is capturing their every move and using their data against them.

“You shouldn’t have to be a security expert to know what applications you use in order to have the level of privacy that you prefer,” Dr. Waterhouse said. “We believe that things like a decentralized VPN are a step in the direction of decentralizing a lot of different kinds of messaging and communication platforms. There are definitely very layered challenges in what that means.”

The layered challenges Dr. Waterhouse is referring to the question of what is good for free speech and what is bad? Who gets to be the ruler and decisionmaker for what is right or what is wrong? Does the government deserve the right to limit what its citizens see? Or do private companies that allow applications and users to access their platforms bear the responsibility of monitoring them?

“It’s nuanced when you start talking about decentralizing these things such that you take away the censorship powers of central points of authority,” he said. “We’re in very interesting territory when we get into this space.”

A perfect case study is Apple’s new M1 chip. While the benefits are documented when it comes to efficiency and overall power, what users don’t understand is the power this chip is providing to Apple when it comes to information the company is able to collect on its users.

“Every time you open an application, that information is being tracked by Apple. And every time you install an application, that’s being tracked by Apple. And the reason they do that is for malware issues, which we think is a good idea. But in order to do that, they need to track what’s happening with your device. There’s a huge risk. All that information on Apple is, is also the broker of what applications are allowed to be brought on the farm.”

So how is a decentralized VPN going to alter the internet and allow information to travel more freely? According to Dr. Waterhouse, the system has two main benefits: the first is that the network is constructed in a way that you don’t have to be a professionally-run company to have access to Orchid’s VPN. The second is that Orchid has its own form of cryptocurrency, which shields its users from having to store payment information.

“We allow you to connect to hundreds of different VPN providers and by layering connections this way, you’re able to shield information about who you are and where you’re going, because if I know who you are and what you’re going, I can track a lot of information about you,” he said. “Cryptocurrency works very well in the system because in order to set up connections from your client to hundreds of different nodes, imagine trying to do that with a credit card system? You have to have some central authority to do that. We don’t want a central authority because of the whole point of design. So instead we’re able to use this cryptocurrency, which you can just send to people as long as they’re able to accept the cryptocurrency. The idea of it is not just about lack of central control. It’s about cryptocurrencies. And from the beginning of Bitcoin, it’s the idea of building things that are permissionless and you don’t need to apply to the government to run a node network.”

To hear more about Orchid Labs and their decentralized VPN software, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries!

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

Love this? Share it with your friends!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

   

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

The Mission Daily

Our Podcasts