What Does It Mean to Maintain Privacy?

What Does It Mean to Maintain Privacy?

January 27, 2023

Privacy when it comes to tech tends to feel abstract. But it’s a highly personal, real concept.  

Our data reads like a diary—where we’ve been, who we’ve spoken to, what we’ve done in a day.

When we use most free applications, we make a trade: our data in exchange for free usage. We're incentivized to make the trade because we want to use a beautiful, free application with a very useful piece of functionality. We sign terms and conditions that spell this trade out when we sign-up for the account. We click accept, and then we usually don’t think too much about it after that.

The view of privacy in Web3—from Mailchain’s perspective—is that this exchange of data for free use of an application isn’t a trade any of us should have to make.

“The Internet today provides tremendous value to users, from searching for information, interacting with friends, to making new relationships on social sites—there’s education, knowledge, and entertainment right there. But the business models running these apps aren’t necessarily in the best interest of the users. I want to see this change into a model that is sustainable and doesn’t rely on people’s private data to function.”

- Tim Boeckmann, Mailchain CEO

“Privacy should be inherent to Web3, a basic human right. And this shouldn’t have anything to do with the sensitivity level of the information—more valuable information, or less valuable information; more private information, or less private. It’s the inherent human right to privacy. My data is mine, and mine alone. Unless I choose to share it with you.”

-Rob De Feo, Mailchain CTO

With an identity/ identities you control, you should be able to protect and maintain the data—such as the information, or activity (digital history), that goes along with it.

We believe that in this new era of Web3, privacy will look like this:

  • Web3 & Data Ownership. You are your data’s keeper. You track your identity or identities’ activity for your own benefit.  
  • Web3 & Data Storage. You store that data in a wallet.  
  • Web3 & Data Sharing. You control access to this wallet, and you choose which applications or other identities you want to share this data.  
  • Web3 & Data Monetization. You monetize the data, if you want to. The selling power is yours because the data is yours.  
  • Web3 & Data Maintenance. Because you have an identity and data you now control, it is your job to maintain your own privacy—to check in on the data, to ensure you are sharing it with the right applications or people. Only you maintain this data—not a business. You finally hold all the power and responsibility.

We built the Mailchain application with each of these five principles in mind:  

  • Mailchain & Data Ownership. Your email/ messages in Mailchain are yours alone. Mailchain encrypts them, so only you can read them. Even Mailchain cannot access your emails. We can’t see what is sent or received. And we don’t track your activity in our application.  
  • Mailchain & Data Storage. Mailchain stores messages in distributed storage locations, then encrypts the location metadata that is transmitted on-chain. This means nobody can see who you’re messaging or learn anything about the size or location of your messages.
  • Mailchain & Data Sharing. When you sign up for a Mailchain account, a new blockchain identity is created. This identity can also register and manage existing addresses and identities so they can be organized in one place. This linkage doesn’t compromise the security of other blockchain addresses. You are never required to share other blockchain addresses’ private keys with Mailchain. And account ownership cannot be inferred [when you link accounts, no one can see they are linked].
  • Mailchain & Data Monetization. We don't monetize your data. We don’t have ads. And we don’t track your online behavior in or outside our application.
  • Mailchain & Data Maintenance. Mailchain makes it easy to view and manage your on-chain activity. Because you can link identities in one inbox, you can easily manage your Web3 interactions in one place. This makes it easier to maintain your data privacy as your Web3 footprint grows over time.  

If you think of data as your diary, and email or messages as some of the most intimate forms of data, you can see how it’s in your best interest to use a messaging application that values your privacy. With Mailchain we want your data to be yours, and the choice to share it.

Meet the writer

Prior to Mailchain, Tim created and led the Emerging Technologies startup strategy at AWS, which was responsible for all blockchain startup customers. He has worked with many key organisations including the Ethereum Foundation, Web3 Foundation and Algorand.
Tim Boeckmann
CEO Mailchain