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The Decentralists

Author: Mike Cholod, Henry Karpus & Geoff Glave

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As big tech continues to exploit our personal data—more than ever, people are demanding control of their digital lives and asserting their self-sovereign identity. The solution is a decentralized Internet—and we are here to talk about all things decentralized. The Decentralists is a podcast about social media, privacy, and self-sovereign identity. The Decentralists is hosted by Michael Cholod, Henry Karpus, and Geoff Glave.
54 Episodes
Bill C-10 is a proposed amendment to the Canadian Broadcasting Act, introduced on November 3, 2020 by Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault during the second session of the 43rd Canadian Parliament. The bill seeks to amend the Broadcasting Act to account for the increased prominence of internet video and digital media, by adding undertakings that conduct "broadcasting" over the internet to the regulatory scope of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Bill C-10 has faced criticism for granting a large amount of power to the CRTC, who are unelected regulators and receive very little guidance from Parliament or the government. Its unclear applicability to user-generated content on social media services has also faced concerns that it infringes freedom of expression. 
What goes into making a social media app? What kind of planning does it require? Today, we are discussing product management and taking a deep dive into our brand new self-sovereign messaging app Manyone. To discuss this, we’ve invited Geoff Glave, Co-Founder of Manyone, and Chief Product Decentralist.Geoff has over 25 years of experience in product management, shaping visions from inception to real world products that bring value to individuals and enterprises. Geoff believes that the Internet is meant to be a decentralized peer-to-peer platform made up of self-sovereign users. In the premiere episode of Season 2, Geoff Glave tells us how Manyone will make this happen.
What is the biggest threat to independent journalism both in Canada and internationally? We discuss this question and more with the executive director and spokesperson for the watchdog group, FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, Daniel Bernhard. FRIENDS conducts leading-edge policy and opinion research on issues affecting Canadian media and related issues. This research demonstrates that millions of citizens care deeply about the future of Canadian media, journalism, and programming. Unfortunately, as social media continues to dominate how Canadians access news, independent journalism is threatened. In this episode, we ask Daniel:How are data and journalism being weaponized by bad actors? Why isn’t social media doing more to fact check the news? Should we rely on governments to “fix” social media?We answer these questions and more on the best Decentralists episode yet!
Great ideas can be Game Changers and we talk to the people who made them great!On this episode of The Decentralists we speak with Scott Chu, a 2nd year Masters student in Management Information Systems at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. Scott’s research interests are focused on investigating how organizations can harness advances in technology to realize certain business benefits. His research as an intern with Manyone this past summer, involved comparing annual financial performance measures between firms that experienced different types of data breaches, to highlight problems that blockchain technology could solve. How much could a credential-based data breach cost your company? and how decentralized, user-centric identity and access could reduce your risk?Scott’s final research report, Evaluating the Financial Impact of Data Breaches Involving Account Credentials, is available for viewing from the Peer Social and Manyone websites under a new content category we call  Game Changers.
Great ideas can be Game Changers and we talk to the people who made them great!On this episode of The Decentralists we speak with Sadaf Ahmadbeigi, a candidate for Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies, class of 2022. Sadaf is a recipient of the current Association of Research Libraries/Society of American Archivist - Mosaic Award, for their leadership role in gathering and processing oral history accounts from queer Iranian communities.As a member of the Blockchain Faculty at UBC, Sadaf is exploring ways to guarantee safety and transparency of personal identities and records in an ever-rising number of unstable states and economies worldwide.Many human rights organizations including the UN, are searching for a way to document identity, possessions and return a sense of dignity and stability to refugees after they’ve fled a broken homeland. Sadaf and The Peer Social Foundation believe this can be accomplished by utilizing the inherent trust, traceability and immutability of blockchain technology. Sadaf’s whitepaper, Trusted Records in Tapestry Approach: A Background Study to Inform System Design is available for viewing and download from the Peer Social and Manyone websites under a new content category we call Game Changers.
The Decentralists are introducing a new segment called Game Changers. Great ideas can be Game Changers and we will talk to the people who made them great!On this episode we talk with Ali Farahbakhsh, Master of Applied Science student at the University of British Columbia. Ali has dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, with a broad range of research interests including: Communication networks, information theory, and distributed systems. This past summer, Ali was a research Intern with the Peer Social Foundation, designing a purpose-built blockchain for digital identity using a new, self-sovereign consensus model.   Ali’s whitepaper, Self-Sovereign Identity Based on Blockchain -  A Design Roadmap is available for viewing from the Peer Social and Manyone websites, under a new content category, Game Changers.
This week on The Decentralists we have a very special guest, Dr. Jon Unruh, Transitional Justice advocate and Associate Professor of Geography at McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Unruh has over 25 years’ experience in developing and implementing research, policy and practice on war-affected land and property rights in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia - and has published widely on these topics. His specialty is housing, land and property (or HLP) restitution claims in war-affected scenarios. Most recently, he has assisted the UN in HLP restitution programs in Sri Lanka, Iraq, Syria and Yemen; and he’s currently working on a digital media approach for mass HLP restitution claims for refugees and internally dislocated persons in Syria and Iraq.What Transitional Justice and what role does it play in helping displaced people and refugees?What is Home Land and Property data? and why is documenting it so critical to refugees and displaced people? Join us the week for an engaging and illuminating discussion about Transitional Justice and why it is important to healing the wounds of war.* in this episode we call it Home LIFE and Property data, our apologies but after listening to this episode you might agree with us that HLP is more about life than just land.
Dr. Nigel Dodd is Professor in the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1991 on the topic of Money in Social Theory, and lectured at the University of Liverpool before joining the LSE in 1995. Nigel’s main interests are the sociology of money, economic sociology, and classical and contemporary social thought. He’s the author of The Sociology of Money and Social Theory and Modernity. His most recent book, The Social Life of Money, was published by Princeton University Press in September of 2014. Professor Dodd currently teaches courses at the LSE at the Masters level in Classical, Modern and Contemporary Social Thought, and co-founded the MSc in Economy, Risk and Society.How can Sociology help us better understand traditional money, and its digital counterpart, Cryptocurrency? Join us on this episode of The Decentralists as we explore what money means to society - and what cryptocurrencies mean to money.
A little over a year ago on The Decentralists - Store Wars, we talked about the looming legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, maker of Fortnite.  In a high profile trial, Epic Games had challenged the up-to-30% cut Apple takes from purchases - and argued that the App Store was monopolistic. Epic games declared victory when Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers Issued a permanent injunction, stating that Apple could no longer prohibit developers linking to their own purchasing mechanisms.Apple also claimed victory when the Judge ruled that with the evidence provided, the court could not consider Apple a monopolistEpic is appealing the decision.What does this decision mean for iPhone users and for Epic?  In this episode The Decentralists will unpack this decision and explain why it might be the beginning of the end of the App Store monopolies.
Proton Torpedoed

Proton Torpedoed


ProtonMail is a a secure, end-to-end encrypted email service developed by a group of scientists working at CERN in Switzerland. On their website, ProtonMail touts that their servers are located in Switzerland, and therefore subject to very strict Swiss privacy laws, as the primary reason to pay for the service.ProtonMail is used by journalists, whistle blowers and activists all over the world precisely because its is secure, private and untraceable.Until recently that is.Russell Brandom from the Verge recently exposed a flaw in the ProtonMail business model and it was those same pesky Swiss privacy laws that supposedly guaranteed their privacy. Why is this such a big deal for Proton Mail users?  The Decentralists will explain on this week's episode.
This week we are joined by Julian Zawstowski, a decentralized systems visionary and entrepreneur, and founder of the Golem Foundation. Located in Warsaw, Poland, Julian and his colleagues at the Golem Foundation are engaged in a number of projects that democratize access to computing, breakdown corporate data silos, and strengthen the position of individual users vis-à-vis service providers.  Julian and his colleagues at the Golem Foundation are cutting edge Decentralists advocating for a new proof of use model call the User Defined Organization. Their first practical application, Wildland, is a distributed file sharing protocol currently in Proof of Concept.Please join us on this episode of The Decentralists as we explore making decentralization a practical reality for everyone.
We talk a lot about digital identity on The Decentralists. What is Identity? What makes Identity self-sovereign? Why is decentralized identity better than centralized like that offered by Single Sign-On? This week we talk about another important risk of centralized identity, the linking of personally identifiable data (PII). To put this important issue in context we have a couple of interesting examples in the news just this week Brian Barrett from WIRED reported on new dangers resulting from a breach of up to 100 Million user records at T-Mobile. Kim Lyons from The Verge reported that Tinder is going to start offering Identity verification to all it’s users. These two reports may not appear to be similar, but Henry, Mike and Geoff do their best to explain .
This episode, we define Single sign-on (SSO) solutions for identity management, and we’re thrilled to get some help from a very special guest. Dr. Geoffrey Goodell is a senior research associate in the financial computing and analytics group at the department of computer science at University College London. Furthermore, Dr. Goodell is the lead researcher at the Peer Social Foundation, our non-profit partner focused on education, research and open-source initiatives aimed at decentralizing identity and access for people, business and government.What exactly is Single sign-on and why do people use it?
This episode is all about Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. Dr. Geoffrey Goodell, associate professor at UCL and research lead at The Peer Social Foundation join us to break down a difficult concept into something we can all understand.What is Self-Sovereign Identity and how is it different from traditional identity documents?
This episode of The Decentralists tackles a really popular topic, Blockchain.  Henry, Mike and Chris will break down blockchain into something that everyone can understand. It seems like everyone is talking about blockchain but do you really know what they are talking about?What is a blockchain and why is everyone freaking out about it?
Apple recently announced a new feature to be released in iOS 15 that would allow all photos stored on an iPhone and in iCloud to be scanned for child specific abusive material (CSAM). Theoretically Apple would be able to compare every iPhone photo to known CSAM material and identify people who create and share such villainous content.What's the big deal?  Why is Apple getting so much flack over this decision? On this episode of The Decentralists Henry, Mike and Geoff talk about Apple and their decision to join the rest of Big Tech in readily violating their user’s privacy.Is this technology the back-door into iOS the swore they would never make?
Join us as Henry Mike and Chris chat about the Cloud. What exactly is the Cloud and why has it been such a great innovation to help the Internet grow?  Without the Cloud, the Internet would be much smaller and less accessible to people without computers but that conveniences comes at a cost.The Cloud is synonymous with using someone else's computer to host a service and the cost of using that computer is your data. Cloud services are not software, you don't own a Cloud-based service you rent it and in return for the convenience of accessing these services you may be giving up your identity and the ownership of your data.It's time we all understood the Cloud a bit better and The Decentralists will try our best to help explain. 
As the Internet has grown and society has shifted from document-based identity to digital, social media has changed everything. Identity now equals influence.Many of us may not know our neighbours, but we know our status as social media tastemakers. We’re foodies, fashionistas and technophiles. You can have any hobby and all of the sudden you have a community, and you may have incredible influence.
This episode, we define identity, and we’re thrilled to get some help from a very special guest. Dr. Geoffrey Goodell is a senior research associate in the financial computing and analytics group at the department of computer science at University College London. Furthermore, Dr. Goodell is the lead researcher at the Peer Social Foundation, our non-profit partner focused on education, research and open-source initiatives aimed at decentralizing identity and access for people, business and government.What exactly is identity?
Decentralization Education is our short 10-15 minute segment where we explain technology terms and topics that we often reference during our regular podcast, The Decentralists. In this episode: a topic many people feel they know all about -- but do they? What exactly is encryption?
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