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  • isvarahparamahkrsnah

    isvarahparamahkrsnah 7:42 pm on April 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Big Bucks Moxie, , cryptocurrency, , decentralization, federation, finance, Joshua Goldbard, , LibreSignal, mobile transactions, MobileCoin, Moxie Marlinspike, Open Whisper Systems, , security, Signal, Signal Messenger, , Threema   

    Crappy Privacy Alternatives: Signal Messenger 

    Well well well!

    It’s been almost an year since my last series on crappy privacy alternatives. And I somehow got carried away with more interesting topics, but here we are again!

    I installed Signal when I first started using a smartphone. But I never used the app much because I never really had anyone to talk to.

    The last time I used Signal was maybe in May/June last year? Then I just dropped it completely because again, I had nobody interesting to talk to.

    But I’ve always been suspicious of Signal. So, even when it was advertised as a secure encrypted private messenger, I never really trusted it enough to use it freely.
    I’ve shared more information on some of my public blogs than I have on Signal.
    And that, is a hint of what I’ve always thought of Signal.

    Now here’s my problems with Signal:

    1. Signal requires mobile phone verification to create an account.

    In the world of privacy, that’s a huge fucking red flag. And I don’t care what anyone says about it. RED FLAG! That’s it.

    I’ve got a dozen alternatives that don’t need a phone number. How about that?

    2. Signal UI is ugly.

    I’ve tried most of the privacy apps out there. Signal is the ugliest app I’ve ever used.

    3. Lack of features.

    I remember creating groups on Signal. I could add new members but I couldn’t remove anyone from the group. I could leave a group but couldn’t rejoin it unless someone from that group invited me back.
    This is the reason I stopped using Signal.

    4. Forced updates.

    This version of Signal has expired. Update now to send and receive messages.

    Have you seen any other app that becomes completely useless when it “expires”?
    What’s with these updates? What’s so fucking important in these updates that renders the old versions completely useless?

    5. Overrated.

    Signal is overrated. Okay? What was once a private secure app that intelligent people were supposed to use, quickly became a meme with all the shills advocating it left and right.

    I’m going to tell you a secret about technology, okay? The more people that use it, the higher likely a target it becomes for the hackers and spies and government surveillance crooks.

    You’re better off using an insecure means of communication that nobody would think of, than using a popular means of communication that everyone’s hopped on.
    For example, BBS. How many surveillance crooks would think of going after bulletin board systems in 2021?
    Well there you go now. I just fucked it up for everybody who’d ever use a BBS for private communications. Ya see how this works?

    6. No desktop features.

    Signal has been around for a few years now, but the company – what’s it’s name? Open Whisper Systems – yeah, Open Whisper Systems and their overrated CEO Moxie Marlinspike never had any time to make the desktop app work like a regular desktop app from any other messenger.

    The last time I installed the desktop app, I couldn’t use it without scanning a fucking barcode from my phone. Now what the fuck is this bullshit?

    You just can’t sign into the desktop app like a normal messenger. No. Moxie Marlinspike and his team of retards want you to scan a fucking barcode as if you’re at the fucking grocery store.

    You’re goddamn right I went there! Who came up with this brilliant idea of scanning barcodes? You fucking morons!

    And then, the desktop app only works if you have a goddamn phone, where, of course, you have to register using your mobile number.

    But what if your phone camera breaks or cracks? And you can’t scan the fucking barcode?
    That happened to me. Now I had a fucking broken phone with a shitty app, and a fucking computer with a useless fucking app.
    Moxie Marlinspike didn’t think of that one, did he?

    So instead of working on the desktop app and making it more user-friendly, Moxie and his team of retards spent all their time planning on going full capitalist corporate crooks.

    7. Signal was never decentralized or federated.

    Remember when people were talking about decentralization and federation? Moxie the pinocchio led everyone to believe that this would happen at some point when Signal had matured in development.
    Anyone remember LibreSignal?

    It’s been 6 years and not a whiff about decentralization and federation.

    You know why?

    Because Moxie and his team of crooks were busy forming a scheme to make some big bucks! And everyone knows, you can only make big bucks when you have a monopoly in the market.
    That’s why Moxie didn’t give a shit about the people’s demand for decentralized servers and federation.

    Look at Matrix. Matrix was rolled out way after Signal gained popularity. You have to remember that Signal has it’s from RedPhone and TextSecure. I distinctly remember installing both of those apps when I got my smartphone. But they weren’t updated and were later killed off as Signal became popular.
    Yet Matrix already had decentralized server by the time I started using it.

    So the problem wasn’t that Signal couldn’t be decentralized. It was that Moxie wanted to maintain a monopoly on it until he could cash out and make big bucks for all his hard work.

    And that brings me to the recent news about Signal implementing cryptocurrency for beta-testers in the UK.
    Big Bucks Moxie, as I shall call him from now henceforth, decided to spend 2020 implementing a currency called MobileCoin into Signal. Yeah, that’s going to be a seller.
    People don’t think about privacy and security when they think of a messenger, oh no no – they think of a cryptocurrency called MobileCoin. Priorities folks!

    Big Bucks Moxie’s partner in capitalism is a man named Joshua Goldbard. I don’t know anything about this guy, and I’m not going to bother wasting any time looking him up.

    The bottom line is this – nobody wants some fucking crypto coin in their messenger, okay?
    If you look at the previous series of crappy privacy alternatives, I’ve already mentioned it. Blockchain’s tried it and failed. No respectable man has given blockchain based bullshit apps any time of his day.

    This reminds me of Keybase in many ways. Keybase had a solid foundation in the identify keys authentication nonsense, which sold out to every nerd on the block. Then they fucked it up with the cryptocurrency bullshit. What was their coin called? Never mind. Nobody cares.
    See? This is how irrelevant cryptocurrency is in the real world. Nobody cares!
    Th only people investing money into this bullshit are the scumbags who invented these coins, the miners who’ve got plenty of resources laying around, and the retards who’re gonna lose everything to make the other two richer.

    It’s all gambling, okay? Cryptocurrency is gambling.
    The only real monetary value is in physical assets. Don’t rely on some virtual shitcoin whose prices rise and fall like a cardiogram on steroids.

    Now where was I again? Keybase. Keybase did the cryptocurrency thing where they gave everyone a bunch of free coins then sold out to Zoom.
    Now here’s what I suspect – when a reputable company invests in crypto, it’s going down the hill. That’s the best time to jump off the fanboys wagon before it crashes into the valley of corporate crooks.

    How’s Keybase doing nowadays? Does anybody know?
    Looks like the website has been redesigned. Last blog update was from their acquisition by Zoom, 336 days ago.
    This is what happens when open source free software is handed over to a capitalist corporation.

    Big Bucks Moxie, are you taking notes? Yeh, I got you all figured out.
    One year from now, Signal will probably be acquired by Facebook, won’t it? Won’t it Moxie? Come on now. You gotta have a game plan here. What’s plan B when the cyptocurrency bullshit lands on it’s arse and the poop splatters everywhere? Selling out, acquisition… no? Are you going to let your company die just like that? You gotta make some money now! Come on now! I know you want some money! Don’t you? Don’t you? Someone’s been very naughty at work. Santa’s going to be upset.

    On the other hand, Signal could’ve gone with a business model like Threema. I’m sure a lot of people would’ve paid for it, considering how popular Threema is in the privacy world.
    Is that Big Bucks Moxie’s plan C? It’s not guaranteed to work like plan B. Selling out would be much more profitable than adopting a premium model. Decisions decisions!

    There’s already a petition on Change.org from the loyal fanboys.
    Hilarious!

    7. Pins

    Here’s something that I just remembered – the pins. I had to enter a verification pin a bunch of times to continue using the app. Which genius came up with that idea at OpenWhisper Systems?

    Oh wait! They’ve changed the company name a shitload of times too. I’m just going to call it Big Bucks Signal!

    There’s a bunch of fanboys calling Big Bucks Moxie’s MobileCoin groundbreaking and innovative.
    These are probably the same people who still use Keybase.

    I’m pretty sure there’s some blockchain apps with chat and crypto transactions implemented. Though I’m not going back to look into them to confirm that.

    I noticed that there’s a bunch of essays on the MobileCoin websites in terms of rules and regulations and agreements and all that nonsense. Who the fuck has time to read through all that nonsense?

    The biggest realization I’ve had, is that anyone can come up with a currency of their own, provided they have some resources to get it off the ground. There’s hundreds of cryptocurrency coins out there, and they’re all useless. What makes you think I’d want to invest in your currency anyway? Why can’t I just invent my own currency and run on that?
    This is the future of cryptocurrencies.
    At some point, everyone will have their own coins, and they’ll all have as much value as diz nuts. John will have JohnCoins, Jane will have JaneCoins, and all the Johns in the world will band together to form an organization to make JohnCoins the most popular currency in the world. Sounds like fiction?
    Well, so are all the coins today.
    Fuck your cryptocurrency.
    I’ll hold onto my paper.

    I can’t wait for someone to pull the plug on all these cryptocurrency servers and watch all the nerds pull their hairs out.

    Everyone wants to be like Elon Musk with his Paypal startup, Well your cryptocurrency ain’t it.

     
  • isvarahparamahkrsnah

    isvarahparamahkrsnah 8:21 am on May 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BitTube, blockchain, blockstack, cryptocurrency, , , DTube, LBRY, , Steemit   

    Crappy Privacy Alternatives: Blockchain, Blockstack and DApps 

    I haven’t posted in a few days. I was procrastinating and got distracted by other things. But now that I’m here, I’m feeling angry. And so I’m going to expose crappy technology in the privacy world.

    Blockchain was developed by some anonymous Japanese dude to serve as a public transaction ledger for bitcoin. The dude invented the cryptocurrency and it’s ledger – bitcoin and blockchain.

    How does blockchain work? As a ledger. I suppose it keeps a public and permanent record of stuff. It could be centralized or decentralized.

    I’m not a blockchain or cryptocurrency fan. As a result, my understanding of the technology is pretty vague.

    Blockchain may serve it’s purpose well for it’s “banking services”. But other than that, it’s crap.

    Take any other services based on blockchain – they’re crap.

    What is Blockstack? How does it work? I don’t know and I don’t care! Their website is inaccessible using Tor – You have to solve some crappy captcha. I HATE CAPTCHA.

    When you go through the Blockstack website, it promotes a bunch of crappy apps with no text that summarizes how the technology works.

    Okay. I had to give their whitepaper a brief glance to see if I could find anything useful. Here’s what I see: “business logic and data processing runs on the client.” No wonder blockstack apps are so slow. That’s the main reason why blockstack apps are crappy – they’re too damn slow.

    What is DApps? DApps – an acronym for decentralized applications, is the official name for applications that use blockchain technology to provide some services. Are blockstack apps DApps? Yes. But I don’t see that mentioned anywhere on their crappy website.

    Now I tried to look for some dApps which privacy advocates may have heard of: Ethereum Name Service, DTube, Minds.com, beta.cent.co, SpringRole.com, LBRY, Steemit, Hive Blog, Sense Chat, BitTube etc. And these are just apps which have managed to have a usable interface with simple user interactions. The rest of the dApps that I’ve come across have multiple steps to sign up and log into individual apps. It’s a headache that nobody wants to deal with. Regular apps and websites have simple sign up and login methods. dApps have methods from hell. Did I mention how painfully slow they are?

    When I was looking for an alternative to YouTube a few years ago, I gave LBRY a shot. I searched for videos to watch and found a bunch of crappy ones. I never opened that app again.

    LBRY, Steemit, BitTube, Minds.com probably have the simplest blockchain implementation that I’ve seen. Yet they still manage to suck so bad, it’s not even worth trying them again.

    And this brings me to my conclusion. Any technology that involves money will become crappy so fast, it will make your stupid head spin. Especially, when the currency involved is in crypto. Now why am I saying this? Because it’s true. The incentive to monetize everything on the internet has destroyed some really good projects. Everyone who gets involved in such projects has one goal in mind – earn some crypto. Right from the developers down to the users. Everybody’s thinking about making some bitcoins and it drives the entire network down the drain.

    What’s the future of these technologies? Unless someone implements it for a Free and Open Source Software cause, there is no future. These projects will gain no traction unless they’re separated from the cryptocurrency side. I know the devs need to make a living. But rubbing the crypto crap on everything will doom them right from the start.

    I never liked advent of cryptocurrency. Just like real-world money, the greed it brought alongside destroyed everything. If money is the motive, what’s the difference between blockchain apps and real world banking services? Privacy? Security? Gimme a break!

    So there is no difference between commercialized premium web services and blockchain crypto-based dApps. It’s like one arm picking food directly from the plate and shoving it into the mouth while the other wraps around the head and slings it sideways while the mouth tries to catch it. How would you prefer to eat your meal?

     
  • isvarahparamahkrsnah

    isvarahparamahkrsnah 12:01 pm on May 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business, , cryptocurrency, , ,   

    The Privacy Business 

    Since the Snowden leaks in 2013, a lot of people have gotten into privacy. But not all of them are in it for the right reasons.

    There has been a growing trend in the development and marketing of privacy tools and networks that work in the same way as mundane corporations. And their main motive is money. How can they make a cash cow out of privacy?

    Hence the privacy business.

    Each of these businesses start out with individuals who form teams and grow into a small company. They release their tools and services in the name of privacy. They have Github repos, Reddit accounts, HN accounts, Twitter accounts, and Facebook accounts. They release alpha versions of the front-end software with early access or invite only access, then beta releases, then the finalized major releases. Their goal is to create a large following and dedicated user base, before they go rogue and turn their backs on their loyal users. The entire process may take anywhere from 2-5 years, but they are patient. In the end, they know they can make enough money to retire, once they sell out.

    If their project fails to gain momentum and a large following, they will drop it and disappear, onto the next cash cow, something they can exploit for money.

    If they offer premium services, they are likely to stick to the business. But if they offer completely free services, then it’s highly likely that, at some point, they will sell out to some corporation for the ultimate buck. Some people call it acquihire, others call it joining; I call it selling out.

    Over the years, I’ve come across several “privacy” services, that ended up either shutting down or selling out. And I’ve become very cautious when any “entrepreneur” shows up with some privacy-oriented services. It makes me questions what their motives are, how long they plan to stay open, when they’re going to sell out, and for how much.

    The privacy diaspora is a murky swamp on the outskirts of the internet. Just when you thought you were absolutely safe, you might wake up to a rude surprise.

    I’m going to conclude this with the perfect example of Keybase. Keybase is an encryption service that was launched in 2014. In the alpha stage, it was invite-only. I remember signing up for an invite and waiting for a few days before receiving one a few years ago.

    On 7th May 2020, Keybase announced that it had been acquired by Zoom. Anyone who keeps in touch with the latest Tech news would know just how bad Zoom really is. As I scrolled through hundreds of surprised reactions from loyal users on HN and Reddit, I realized none of us had bothered to do our research. We just followed the hype from the Tech media. And the Tech media is not a good source of information for a privacy enthusiast.

    Looking at the Keybase blog, I see exactly how Keybase raised their initial $10.8M investment. And I can’t recognize any of the names as related to the privacy world. The Stellar wallets and free crypto was the final attempt to increase their user base before they sold out. Why would any small company that provides free services (not to forget the 250GB free storage!) give out $119M to their users?

    Looking through the members of the Keybase team, only one of them had a Mastodon account. I doubt any of the others had bothered to look up the Fediverse much less join it. This is why the Fediverse was by large, left out of the Keybase user accounts verification.

    The background of the founding members of Keybase shows that they were working with OkCupid before starting Keybase. Since OkCupid is a commercialized dating service with a terrible privacy history, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the Keybase founding team.

    I’m disappointed in myself. Instead of doing my research and questioning the motives of the company that provided a unique service for free, I allowed myself to be fooled by the mainstream Tech journalists. What do the mainstream tech journalists know about the privacy world? Nothing! I’m glad I stopped wasting my time reading tech news. Tech news is basically a huge advertising and marketing medium for the companies that violate their users privacy even after being paid hundreds and thousands of dollars.

    I’m going to delete my Keybase account before midnight. The next time some company comes along with some innovative privacy services, I’m going to get up their arse with a microscope and release a full-fledged detailed review of their business.

     
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