Yikes! We Don’t Know Anything About Our Users

4 min read

Yikes! We Don't Know Anything About Our Users

No, this isn’t clickbait. We really don’t know anything about our users, and we never plan on knowing either. Do you know why? Because we like to lead by example and give them complete control over their privacy. 

We have seen that technology in recent times has created two distinct forces. On the one hand, extensive sets of user data are the basis of the fast-approaching digital-first world. But, on the other, we have the obligation of upholding the users’ privacy concerning that very data. So if technology is the problem, can technology also be the saviour? Let’s explore further.

Data, Data Everywhere

Over half of the world’s population has access to the internet today, and we created around 2.5 quintillion daily data bytes in 2020. So if that word seems unfamiliar, we’ll give you a hint. A quintillion has 18 zeros!

The collection of data at this magnitude is possible because, for every human being on this planet, there are about four devices connected to the internet, absorbing and sending data every second. For businesses, this information is their most significant asset – the value of which, dare we say, is greater than the value of the company itself.

Internet-connected devices

There has been a paradigm shift in the role data has played over time. What started as a centralised repository for big companies has become all-pervasive and accessible to small businesses. What only showed trends of the past can now accurately predicted every next move of a human being. There was a time when large enterprises would have a separate unit for analysing data. Now, it is the only job of multi-million dollar businesses.

When there is something so powerful out there, it will come with challenges as significant as itself, if not more. In the case of data, it’s privacy.

Privacy: The Problem of the Decade

Data privacy is said to be the problem of the decade, and rightly so because it is not just individuals who are impacted by it anymore. It includes businesses, corporations and governments. Monetary losses aren’t the only consequences anymore; they have extended to include social, emotional, cultural and psychological issues. 

When it comes to protecting our privacy online, we have a mountain to climb. Most of the time, we are unaware of the data we are giving away and what it entails and in other instances, we are too complacent to do anything about it. 

If someone asks you to give them your email ID in exchange for a free pizza, you would not question it. The reward seems pretty damn good for a small cost. Well, it’s honestly that easy to trick someone and capture relevant information. And yes, your email ID is enough for a good amount of tracking. 

Capturing emails has become easier.

With the widespread use of our data, we are accustomed to thinking that privacy is dead and that there is no way to salvage it. The reality is that we still have a small window to take control of whatever we can. It is your right and your responsibility. 

Where Does Technology Help?

We started by asking if technology can be the solution to the problems it creates. And while that answer is somewhat of a grey area, we have a few good tools in place for data privacy. 

Blockchain was one of the most exciting technologies the world witnessed in recent years. It gained momentum due to cryptocurrency but was never restricted to it. Blockchain has many more implications for different stakeholders, one of which is privacy, which is of interest to us here.

In straightforward terms, blockchain allows data storage in different “blocks”. These blocks are then combined to form an immutable chain. Each of these blocks is highly secure and difficult to modify. Additionally, the technology is based on decentralisation, meaning there is no single place to store the information. Instead, it is distributed all over the network. 

Blockchain works well for privacy protection.

So based on these features, blockchain can play a crucial role in storing and safely sharing data. It has started replacing passwords and usernames to give individuals more control over their sensitive information and digital identity. In addition, it provides a great sense of security by keeping everything confidential, pretty much under lock and key.

Pegging the Holes With Zero-Knowledge Proof

Blockchain most definitely helps with the security of data, but what about anonymity? Many times we have to exchange information with a third party to verify some credentials. Let’s take your age, for instance. You can prove your age to the entity by showing them the year of birth given on your passport. However, in sharing the passport, you reveal a lot more about yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the option of just showing what is needed? 

Enter: Zero-Knowledge Proof

Zero-knowledge proof, or ZKP, has changed the game by bringing cryptography and blockchain closer with numerous use cases. ZKP allows a verifier to confirm data about any user without having access to the actual data. In our previous example, you can prove your age to a bank for its services or at the bar for a drink without revealing anything else about yourself. 

Zero-knowledge proof is based on three primary principles.

  • Completeness: Since the statement is true, it is enough to convince the verifier that the prover has the required inputs. So, if through ZKP a bank knows that you are above 18 years of age, they can safely assume that you have documentation that ascertains that age. 
  • Soundness: If the statement is false, the verifier will not be convinced otherwise, no matter what the prover says. If ZKP cannot prove that you have attained adulthood, the bank will simply refuse to offer its services. You will not have enough power to reverse that decision.
  • Zero-Knowledge: Regardless of whether a statement is true or false, no other data of either party is disclosed. In our case, the bank will have access to nothing else about you, and vice versa. Only the correctness of the statement will be known. Apart from that, there is complete anonymity. 
Zero-knowledge proofs maintain anonymity.

Cove Identity: A True Zero-Knowledge System

The beauty of zero-knowledge proof is that you and only you have the key to access your data. We, as the service providers, also don’t have the authority to know what you are storing on our servers. So when we say we don’t know anything about our users, we really do mean it. Funnily enough, we can’t contact you because we don’t even store your phone numbers.

The technology around it may be complicated, but the solution we offer is the simplest, most secure one out there. We aim to ensure that every time you use the internet, it is tailored to your preferences. You decide the kind of data you want to share, with whom, and for how long. Everything is a click of a button away. 

When we talk about data privacy, we mean business. That’s why thousands of users trust us with their data. So download the app and check it out for yourself!

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