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The Human Right to Privacy and Autonomy
Human rights are an interesting concept. Depending on your nation of residence, you may have varying degrees of explicit and implied rights. The United States, for example, enshrines the rights of their citizens within the Bill of Rights. Australia on the other hand, doesn’t have a bill of rights, but the rights of citizens are implied or included in other documents of federation, law and so forth.
During my Masters Degree I spent an entire semester in a deep dive in Privacy, Surveillance, Ethics and Rights. The right to Privacy, and by virtue, the right to Autonomy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Privacy underpins human dignity and other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech. Interestingly, I have read Australian legislation that allows us the freedom of thoughts, but not the full unfettered freedom of expression and speech. Privacy has become one of the most important human rights issues of the modern age.
As an aside someone I knew many years ago made the commentary during the Snowden revelations that people should be willing to give up their right to privacy in exchange for communications, services and inter-connectivity provided by such companies as Facebook, Google and so on. They dismissed my concerns and instead pointed to the assumed fact that humans have very rarely in history had privacy or autonomy, citing a scenario of everyone else in the cave watching two humans having sex in prehistory. I still disagree with this premise.
The surveillance of human activity, including financial activity, could be argued to be in violation of these fundamental human rights. However, there are also societal boundaries, arguments for the rule of law and the safety of citizens from harm that a positioned contrary to this. Modern technology has opened up the landscape to a position that was not able to be predicted by the religions, traditions and foundations that have been the bedrock of our civilisation. The Australian Privacy Charter says that Privacy is a value that underpins human rights, and that “A free and democratic society requires respect for the autonomy of individuals, and limits on the power of both state and private organisations to intrude on that autonomy”. The surveillance of individuals without consent violates their human rights and as such is morally wrong. The Charter goes on to say that “People should be notified if they are being watched in public places, or else the surveillance system should be obvious”.
Is decentralised blockchain a public place?
If it was, then the surveillance of the activities on the public blockchain needs to be made obvious; and the people being monitored need to be notified. This is the situation for public places in Australia; but I am sure that I can make the assumption that other countries around the world don’t play by these rules. This is where decentralisation can pose an ethical and moral hazard.
Researchers often claim that the invasion of privacy results in a depreciation of autonomy. It has been long argued that when individuals become aware of being monitored, they change their behaviour as a result. Despite this, some studies find that some individuals often not only accepted but even defended being monitored. The idea is raised that the surveillance systems are sold to those being monitored as something good, but rarely the discussion captures of whom it is good for. The ideals of higher efficiency, security or convenience are often toted as positive reasons for intrusive surveillance. Through the progression of these investigations however, it’s found that individuals find their behaviour changes in such entirety that there is a clear desertion between their identity exhibited under surveillance and the one expressed in “private life”.
Surveillance systems are inherently social control mechanisms. Their purpose is the supervision, monitoring or control of persons or places. They are implemented to control individuals’ behaviors and their relations with others, and attempt to alter their behaviors. They challenge human identity, personal autonomy, and agency in different ways. Therefore the questions that arise between surveillance systems and individuals’ sense of autonomy and agency need to be addressed. In this sense, philosophical dimensions of privacy constitute an important conceptual framework within which one can better understand how surveillance technologies influence the way individuals make sense of their behaviors, agency, personal growth, dignity and autonomy, and creation, maintenance and alteration of identity.
‘Round the clock’ surveillance of a given area becomes not only acceptable, but often requested in areas which raise a potential danger to the public. Law Enforcement has no objections in utilising surveillance as part of its protocols to better protect the public and in turn, lower crime and meet the increased demands of anti-terrorism. The technologies permit not only the recording of images and data but also attach the identities of those captured to these images and data.
As society moves into a new era of technological advancement the old notions regarding the infiltration of human rights, particularly which invade privacy need to be questioned and debated. Utilitarian motives skim over the rights of individuals and simply providing an opt-out solution may not always be feasible or acceptable and certainly may not circumvent the violation of one’s privacy, autonomy or agency. Corporations, needing not to abide by a specific rule set, are left to be self-policing. The direction of which is left in the hands of those that control them; leaving users of their products at the mercy of the morality and ethical viewpoints of those few individuals. Government surveillance fairs no better; with the only option left to the individual is to avoid areas under surveillance when signage is noted, breaching autonomy and the human right to freedom.
If you take the position that you will inevitably monitored, and take issue to this – you have to take action on your own and not rely on protection by government or self governance by corporation. You could face the argument that there is no privacy now. Banking and Finance is heavily regulated, audited, facing compliance and other obligations. There are a number of privacy coins within the cryptocurrency space. Some are extremely well know such as Monero, Dash and Zcash, with newer up and comers such as Spectre and Pivx.
List of Privacy Coin Projects
- Monero (XMR): https://getmonero.org
- Dash (DASH): https://www.dash.org
- Verge (VXG): https://vergecurrency.com
- PIVX (PIVX): https://pivx.org
- Zcash (ZEC): https://z.cash
- NavCoin (NAV): https://navcoin.org
- Hcash (HSR): https://h.cash
- CloackCoin (CLOAK): https://www.cloakcoin.com
- Zcoin (XZC): http://zcoin.io
- StealthCoin (XST): https://www.stealthcoin.com/
- Hush (HUSH): https://myhush.org
- Crave Project (CRAVE): https://craveproject.net
- Bulwark (BWK): https://bulwarkcrypto.com
- InnovaCoin (INN): https://innovacoin.info
- Zoin (ZOI): http://zoinofficial.com
- Phore (PHR): https://phore.io
- Pura (PUR): https://pura.one/
- SpectreCoin (XSPEC): https://spectreproject.io/
- Sumokoin (SUMO): https://www.sumokoin.org/
- DeepOnion (INION): https://deeponion.org/
- Grin (http://grin-tech.org/)
- Aeon (AEON): http://www.aeon.cash/
- Enigma (ENG): https://www.enigma.co/
- Aion (AION): https://aion.network/
- Zencash (ZEN): https://zensystem.io/
I would suggest you investigate those in general, as there is a swag of features on offer; with Monero arguably leading the pack in terms of adoption. In recent months I have been monitoring a number of darkmarkets on TOR, as well as https://www.reddit.com/r/DarkNetMarkets/ to keep an eye on technological developments as well as sentiment.
After Bitcoin Cash was added to Dream Market, much to the dismay of Bitcoin advocates who dislike Bitcoin Cash; there was also fall out on various social media outlets. It was more about the lack of privacy that Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash provide. The outcry for a true privacy coin like Monero was very loud. Not long later, it the integration occurred (per the merchant screenshot above) with Darknet Market Dream To Accept Monero As Payment Method. I would advocate that you become familiar with Monero; and a create way to do that is via the Monero NoviceDock Syllabus.
I decided not to write about Monero in this instance, exhaustively, due to the fact that it is somewhat the standard, well documented and familiar to most people. It is not a fork of Bitcoin, it is a fork of CryptoNote, which is both a boon and a crutch. It’s difficult (comparatively) to implement and it might be why the dark web has taken some considerable time to adopt it; despite the demand. It’s certainly why Bitcoin Cash was adopted as a option for people to use as Bitcoin fees skyrocket and transfer times extend to the near ridiculous.
What is NAV Coin?
As always, NAV Coin has a great community over at the NAV Coin SubReddit and it has made collation of my data a lot easier, so props to the folks over there. NAV Coin claims it is the worlds first fully anonymous cryptocurrency. It exists on an anonymous network that is completely separated from the Bitcoin Blockchain known as the NAV Subchain. You guessed it, NAV Coin is based off Bitcoin. As such it offers the benefits of Bitcoin, while also providing faster transactions, the ability to earn 5% on proof of stake, and optional private payments.
NAV Coin uses Proof of Stake algorithm to secure the network (Bitcoin & most others use Proof of Work). The Cardano team have proved that Proof of Stake can be as secure as Proof of Work. The benefit of using Proof of Stake is that it’s much more lightweight and you don’t need huge servers to mine NAV. All you need to do is install the wallet, turn on ‘staking’ mode, and you’ll earn 5% on the amount in your wallet.
What are the key differences for NAV Coin compared to other currencies, including Bitcoin
- Faster transactions times (30 seconds versus 10+ mins).
- Low cost transactions (only 0.0001 NAV).
- A Proof of Stake wallet, that can run on a Raspberry Pi or other low spec machine. This can arguably ensure that mining remains decentralised.
- Users earn a 5% yearly return on the amount in their wallet simply by staking.
- Optional, but fully anonymous transactions. NAVCoin uses the RSA algorithm for privacy which is widely studied and very safe.
- A highly active development team, with updates sent out every week.
- SegWit has been voted on & activated by the community. Which will lead to huge advances in the tech e.g. ability to use Lightning Network (aka private + instant tx)
- NAVCoin has built trust the hard way – by being around for over 3 years and with no intention of stopping.
- A partnership with Changelly that will allow people to switch between different crypto-coins instantly & anonymously.
- Projects in the pipeline that will make Nav Coin much more than a simple currency – such as the ability to create anonymous distributed apps.
NAVcoin Chief Engineer Craig MacGregor Interview
Important NAV COIN Resources
- NAV Coin Road Map
- NAV Coin Whitepaper
- NAV Coin Website
- NAV Coin Wallet
- NAV Coin Discord
- NAV Coin technical support forum
- Email: [email protected]
- NAV Coin Facebook
- NAV Coin Twitter
- NAV Coin GitHub
- NAV Coin NavPay
- NAVTechServers Youtube Channel
- Click here to visit NavTechServers.com which has videos & guides that are helpful for beginners.
Moving beyond the NAV Coin Core wallets, NavPay is a super easy to use mobile wallet, that allows the quickest way to safely secure and store your coins, make payments online, and ensure you’re in control of your private keys. NAV Coin have moved away from their previous Electrum based wallet; to now use a fork of CoPay which allows for a swag of new features and a glossy and smooth interface.
At the time of writing; NavPay is available to download on your Android, in your browser, and soon to be on iOS devices. All your private keys are stored locally, with nothing stored on the website/server to ensure your NAV stays safe.
In a nutshell, here are the dot point features of NavPay
- NavPay creates hierarchical-deterministic (HD) wallets, which gives you a 12 word master password and allows for secure in-app wallet generation and easy backup.
- It’s the first mobile wallet to be able to send private payments using NavTech, so that there is no connection between sender & receiver.
- Multi-signature wallets, which allows you to add in extra layers of security, or create shared wallets with friends or family.
- Integrated with Changelly to allow you to swap between different coins within the app.
- Device-based security – all your private keys are stored locally, and not sent across the internet.
- Multi-Language Support.
- An address book feature, which allows you to save your friends details into your wallet and make it easier to pay.
- Control multiple wallets in one app, such as one for your personal funds, and a combined one with your partner – so you get ultimate freedom over your finances.
NAV Coin BlockChain
One of the most important things for a privacy coin, apart from IP Obfuscation, is the use of a private ledger and private blockchain. NAV Coin uses a system called NAV Tech which disconnects the sender and receiver, and provides another level of anonymisation to people using the platform. As another aside, how good is the NAV Coin marketing? Some time ago they suffered from bad marketing; but have in the last months expanded their marketing operations which a fantastic team that is doing wonders. Anyone who has been in the cryptocurrency space for longer than 3 months is well aware of how important marketing is to generalised adoption.
Project deliverables in my honest opinion need to center around not only the delivery of a product that functions per the whitepaper, but it needs to be welcoming, simple, intuitive and easy to use. They are kicking goals.
So how does this all work? I would suggest you read this article: A Guide to NAV Tech to get a good understanding, but using some of their materials let me break it down in a high level manner.
This is a standard transaction on a regular coin such as Bitcoin. Steve wants to send Allan some coins, it is done on a public ledger via visible transmissions over the regular IP network. The transaction details are available for all to see in a block explorer, and those monitoring wallets can see the activity occurring.
Using NAV Tech, the coins are sent to an address which essentially tumbles/washes it to another address. There is no way to correlate the payment in the middle of the transaction. This occurs seamlessly for the user.
From: A Guide to NAV Tech
- When someone uses NavTech to send coins, the sender fires off their transaction to a NavTech server instead of to the intended destination. The intended destination wallet address is encrypted into the transaction so that only the NavTech server can read it. A NavTech server is a special kind of wallet that processes anonymous transactions, and anyone is able to set one up if they wish. It is made up of multiple wallets — for both the NavCoin blockchain, the second sub-chain, and scripts that process the transactions.
- Once the NavTech wallet receives a transaction, it then sends a transaction into the sub-chain — along with all the information about the transactions (encrypted a second time), meaning no third party can read it.
- This transaction is then sent to a different NavTech server (in an obfuscated way) — which also has both the Nav Coin & sub-chain wallets.
- Once the second NavTech server receives the information about the transaction on the sub-chain, it has a pool of NAV that is then used to send the correct amount of NavCoin to the intended recipient’s address.
- If that sounds complex, it’s meant to be. The layers of encryption and obfuscation are exactly what’s needed to make a NavTech transaction truly private.
How Nav Coin does encryption
Nav Coin and NavTech use RSA encryption. It’s been widely studied, and it’s considered by most authorities to be a robust encryption method that’s yet to be broken (assuming you use a high-bit RSA). We use 2048-bit RSA, and we’ve got the capability to easily upgrade to 4096-bit.
Other privacy coins use newer encryption methods (such as ZKSnarks). But the issue here is that you have to trust the authors of the encryption — and if there turns out to be a flaw in the method (either intentional or unintentional), then every transaction ever made using those coins potentially becomes public.
- Craig MacGregor apart from being project lead, is also currently the CEO of Encrypt S limited, which provides Blockchain consulting services to other parties.
- 5 new digital marketers have recently been added to the team, and this is obvious with the level of marketing they are delivering.
- The team is VERY transparent and active. They consistently hold weekly development updates and provide a real time road map update of their plans to the community and are active on Slack and social media, constantly making themselves available to answers any questions from the community
As usual per previous articles, let’s have a quick look at NAV against my decision matrix.
- Is the project and the currency compliant with the future of regulation and compliance as I believe it will exist.
From two angles here;
- As a privacy coin, you can circumvent many of these regulatory roadblocks
- As it’s based on Bitcoin, it is able to take advantage of Bitcoin bolt-ons, features and technologies. If Bitcoin implements Lightning Network; which arguably can meet KYC AML (maybe by design) – NAV can take advantage of this.
- Is the project backed by a significant team, with credentials and experience that is searchable.
- Is the project already operating, and has tangible products.
- Is the project addressing a business requirement in the market today and Is the project addressing a specific niche and use case scenario.
- Is the project scalable and able to handle significant transaction counts.
- Yes, it can either take advantage of existing Bitcoin technologies; or move to its own.
- Is the project resilient to change over time and able to be updated without issue.
- The impression I get is that they have sufficient technical resource and capital to facilitate this without issue. The GitHub commits are obvious of this.
- Is the project resistant to impact from Green Policy, Eco-Terrorism and other changes in the Energy Space.
- Proof of stake, mobile apps, and so on. Need I say more?
NAV Coin seems to have a winning mix of attributes. Firstly, it’s simple to use. It has a functional design with an intuitive interface for NavPay. It has working products with real world use cases. It is flexible and can be used in multiple methods. Its underlying roots with Bitcoin mean it can be adopted quickly and easily unlike other coins. It has strong human resource capital which is heavily involved in the community and listening to feedback. It has the capability of being future proofed. It is already offering the public/private blockchain combo that other coins like Verge have toted but not fully implemented. This is in my opinion, a dark horse with huge potential.
How can I get NAV?
This article is my opinion; is editorialised and does not constitute financial advice. If you have conducted your own research, due diligence, and want to buy NAV; you can get it at many places including:
- Coinspot (currently being proposed / requested – you can put in your vote here)
Additional Reading and Research
- NAVCoin Investment Review
- The Importance of NAVcoin Open-Sourcing its Anonymous Transaction System
- Australian Privacy Charter
- Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd . (2009, June). Surveillance in Public Places: A Human Rights Perspective
- PRIVACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Practice
- Binance Lists NAV Coin (NAV)
- Looking through all the baseless ‘Hype’ at the moment, Why I’m extremely Bullish on NAV? (An Analysis of NAV’s Potential & Criticisms)
- NAVCoin and IOS Store
- Nav Coin: The Everyday Privacy Coin
- NAV Coin Analysis ($NAV)
- A Closer Look at Altcoins with Real-World Applications
- NAV Coin Creed
- The Next Altcoin to Moon! – Altcoin to 10X in 2018! – NAV Coin NAV CryptoCurrency
- Best Undervalued Altcoins to Buy on Cryptopia in 2018
- WHAT IS NAV COIN? A DUAL BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTION TO PROTECT PRIVACY.
- Nav Coin (NAV) — The Unbreakable Code
- 7 Facts about Nav coin that you didn’t know & Why you should Invest in it