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Freedom as an essential human entitlement has been misgoverned over the course of several decades, but now has the chance to retrieve its original meaning and put an end to totalitarian exploits.
Freedom of speech is currently in a very dark period as countries under repression suffer from global isolation and political impotence, thereby completely limiting access to legitimate and independent media. Countries such as Iraq, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, and North Korea are examples of governments that don’t tolerate any opposing statements about their regime and such actions are usually punishable by law – disallowing foreign media broadcasts and limiting internet access to their citizens.
It’s high time that people all around the world choose – either go down a centralized route where our interactions are surveilled and blue-penciled, or go down a decentralized one that advocates essential freedoms and rights.
Technology’s role in all of this is somewhat paradoxical down the road; some systems can function as control instruments for governments or companies, while others put more power in the hands of citizens.
The Chinese government, for example, learned this the hard way. Tracking and analyzing each citizen and keeping a close tab in terms of behavior, location, finances, and communication took its toll on them. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened last year when Chinese activists began reproducing #MeToo blog posts which caused a severe government outburst leading to their deletion.
In response, the activists turned to the Ethereum blockchain and were able to permanently imprint their stories on a globally managed ledger, easily viewable with a variety of block explorers. One Chinese student defiantly summed up the disruptive power of blockchain in the comment section of a now-deleted WeChat post,