Data Sovereignty

My friend Craig Vodnik wrote a piece on Medium talking about the Age of Data Sovereignty.

This is a new trend among governments to try and control their people.

You may or may not like Ed Snowden, but he tore down the veil on a lot of things governments were doing to reign in and monitor their people. Data Sovereignty is really about protectionism.

This theme has worked its way into the US election. Donald Trump consistently rings the populist bells of protectionism. All Presidents have been economic protectionists in nature in modern history, except Reagan.

Governments are doing this in the name of safety. Governments always over regulate in the name of safety. In Turkey, President Erdogan kicked out PayPal.  He has tried to shut down and block sites hosting all kinds of content.

I am wary of protectionism and isolationism.  This was the way of countries prior to WW1.

In an age where data and information flow seamlessly across borders and networks, governments are ill advised to shut it down.  Governments can never stay ahead, or stop the progress of information or data flow.  Instead, they have to get smarter.  Certainly, it is imperative that they collect, monitor, and act on information regarding terrorism.  But, they will never shut it off.

In the US, there is a massive underground economy.  It’s in the trillions.  In poorer neighborhoods, people line up to use Bitcoin ATMs.  Why?  Some of it has to do with how much income they are generating under the table.  They don’t want to lose their government transfer payments.

The first governments to embrace data sovereignty are also ones that are more totalitarian in nature.  Turkey, Russia, Brazil, and others are using it.  As Americans, we look at their government and the amount of freedom the people there have and think it is isolated.  However, it is not.  Western governments are starting to consider data sovereignty.

The problem with more and more international governments marching down the path of data protectionism is they are directly affecting economic commerce. They sell it to their people by saying they are shutting down things people are fearful of.  However, when you shut down the ability for people to make a living, they find a work around.  Technology will find a way around the blocks.  Then, the terrorists will use the same paths and we are back at square one.

I do think this is a huge opportunity and use case for a platform like Bitcoin.

Governments would be better off keeping information as close to the surface as possible where they can energize an active network to monitor it.  Then it will be easier to put entities like ISIS et al out of business.