Author Topic: How "OPEN" should we be?  (Read 1937 times)

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Offline Thom

How "OPEN" should we be?
« on: October 27, 2017, 07:41:33 pm »
On day 1 of blockchain's existence there was no concept of stealth transactions. That's still true of Bitcoin and most other crypto projects including BitShares.

At some point privacy became a concern and stealth was born.

Bytemaster and others have discussed the implications of BIG DATA in the hands of those who wish to manipulate you.

Shouldn't we be thinking about ways we can improve our privacy and restrict access to our data to only those we authorize to see it?

I am not proposing we reinvent BitShares to lock down access tightly. I only want you to consider privacy as we build new features and add improvements. For example, Alfredo's new ES history plugins, which were created to solve 2 major problems:
  • Heavy RAM use, which also slow restarts / replays
  • How to provide a flexible way to query blockchain activity
 

These are indeed significant problems that the ES plugin will address. The ES feature will make it easier to access historical data - by ANYONE, friend or foe. It does NOT allow for anything to be accessible thru ES that is not already available thru other API calls, it just makes it easier & faster to obtain the data. It is an alternative access method.

In reading over Alfredo's docs for ES, it occurred to me that we should consider protecting the data contained in this ES database. If it is far quicker and easier to use the ES plugin than to code the required API calls to obtain the data, ES will become the tool of choice to mine user data. If this is true the ES plugin represents a significant value, and may be worth considering it as an FBA to gain that advantage.

My chief concern is that our efforts to improve BitShares should also increase freedom, not reduce it. It's the opposite perspective from a fintech regulator, who sees every hidden transaction or means of obscuring them as chipping away at his ability to do his job. He wants as much info as possible, and doesn't care about intruding on people's privacy. I look at every transaction that a regulator knows about as chipping away at my freedom. 

Will google be able to create a search robot that uses this new ES facility to build it's own proprietary DB it can then sell to 3rd parties?

I commented about this concern on github and Telegram:

What security mechanisms exist to protect this data from prying eyes? Can anyone query ES to get MY history for example? The blockchain is wide open, so perhaps such security concerns didn't cross his mind.

What about stealth transactions? Can they be categorized and queried thru ES (for example to create a list of accounts that have used stealth)?

Graphene uses a modular API, and these APIs can be protected with a json API key. I am wondering if you have defined a new API that could utilize that protection, and wondering what protection of MY account history will be provided from 3rd party inquiries. Could I for example query ES to see what accounts may have used ES to query MY history?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 07:44:47 pm by Thom »
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere - MLK |  Verbaltech2 Witness Reports: https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,23902.0.html

Offline oxarbitrage

Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2017, 10:47:40 am »
i understand thomas concerns but i don't share them all. the short answer is to me bitshares is already fully open in regards to account history. 

and to me the most transparent and open the blockchain is, the best, it's an advantage against all traditional systems but that is just my view of it.

the best and more close shot  for privacy bitshares haves is the STEALTH development

anyways, [member=21490]Thom[/member] i hope we can still be friends besides this small difference :)

Offline pc

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Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 12:07:51 pm »
Anyone who is interested in privacy should not make transactions on a blockchain. It's as simple as that.

Google has already indexed a lot of information, just search for inurl:cryptofresh.com to see an excerpt.

It does not make sense to protect the data in ES, because the data that ends up there is already publicly available. The only point of the ES plugin is to make it easier for node operators to do their job, and to avoid the point where we can no longer operate services like openledger simply because we can't afford servers with terabytes of RAM.

BitShares is open source, so anyone can download and run the node, and elasticsearch, and put the two together. We cannot prevent that, we cannot charge fees for that, and if someone does that and uses it to query your account history nobody will know. Just like you cannot see who queried your account history on cryptofresh.
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Offline R

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Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 01:21:28 pm »
Anyone can perform analytics against the BTS blockchain historical data, if you're not using stealth/confidential-transactions then this is a given fact.
I do believe that this public data is valuable for us all though, we can gain insights into the utilization of BTS for use in marketing.
If google ends up publicly analyzing the BTS DEX data, then that's great for our mainstream exposure.

Offline karnal

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Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2017, 05:20:46 pm »
and to me the most transparent and open the blockchain is, the best, it's an advantage against all traditional systems but that is just my view of it

Well, fortunately you can put your actions where your mouth is --

Would you be willing to share with everyone here your full name, residential address, any and all bank accounts you have, and if possible, provide by means of API access read-only access to all of your accounts so that any of us can trace all of your bank transactions?

If no API access is possible, don't despair - we'll settle for a screenshots of all your current balances, plus your last 5 tax returns.

Thank you, help make the world a better place.

Offline oxarbitrage

Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2017, 06:10:36 pm »
and to me the most transparent and open the blockchain is, the best, it's an advantage against all traditional systems but that is just my view of it

Well, fortunately you can put your actions where your mouth is --

Would you be willing to share with everyone here your full name, residential address, any and all bank accounts you have, and if possible, provide by means of API access read-only access to all of your accounts so that any of us can trace all of your bank transactions?

If no API access is possible, don't despair - we'll settle for a screenshots of all your current balances, plus your last 5 tax returns.

Thank you, help make the world a better place.

if you have money in a blockchain your history is open. in bitshares the account history is already open to everyone that want to look. the plugin does not do anything than what it is already possible  with current api calls. where is the problem with the plugin ? i still don't get it.


Offline karnal

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Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2017, 06:24:46 pm »

if you have money in a blockchain your history is open.

https://getmonero.org/

Quote from: oxarbitrage
in bitshares the account history is already open to everyone that want to look. the plugin does not do anything than what it is already possible  with current api calls. where is the problem with the plugin ? i still don't get it.

The account history should have never been open for everyone to see. It is something that I believe bytemaster greatly overlooked in the 2.0 design, in the rush to get the (vastly superior, except for some details, such as this one - unfortunately, a major oversight, in my opinion) graphene technology online in the form of Bitshares 2.0.

People are not that stupid, or at least I hope so - with bitcoin and other such coins (essentially 99.999% of the stuff out there) the concept of addresses makes the uninitiated believe that the thing is modestly private (turns out, that's not really true).

With an account name (good idea), however, without privacy (bad idea), people easily and viscerally realize that they are naked, and very few people would want the whole world to know everything about their financial history.


And why must it be on by default, the private transactions? Well, simple, if privacy is opt-in, the anonymity set is that much smaller, private transactions stuck out, rather than blending in.

Once again, the monero guys got it right. We would do well to learn from them.

The potential for BTS is so huge, but without privacy, it's doomed. Nobody in their right mind wants to broadcast their whole financial life to the whole internet to see.

Offline fav

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Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 09:41:50 pm »

if you have money in a blockchain your history is open.

https://getmonero.org/

Quote from: oxarbitrage
in bitshares the account history is already open to everyone that want to look. the plugin does not do anything than what it is already possible  with current api calls. where is the problem with the plugin ? i still don't get it.

The account history should have never been open for everyone to see. It is something that I believe bytemaster greatly overlooked in the 2.0 design, in the rush to get the (vastly superior, except for some details, such as this one - unfortunately, a major oversight, in my opinion) graphene technology online in the form of Bitshares 2.0.

People are not that stupid, or at least I hope so - with bitcoin and other such coins (essentially 99.999% of the stuff out there) the concept of addresses makes the uninitiated believe that the thing is modestly private (turns out, that's not really true).

With an account name (good idea), however, without privacy (bad idea), people easily and viscerally realize that they are naked, and very few people would want the whole world to know everything about their financial history.


And why must it be on by default, the private transactions? Well, simple, if privacy is opt-in, the anonymity set is that much smaller, private transactions stuck out, rather than blending in.

Once again, the monero guys got it right. We would do well to learn from them.

The potential for BTS is so huge, but without privacy, it's doomed. Nobody in their right mind wants to broadcast their whole financial life to the whole internet to see.
you're 3 years too late for this, no need to waste time on this now

Offline Thom

Re: How "OPEN" should we be?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 06:18:33 pm »
i understand thomas concerns but i don't share them all. the short answer is to me bitshares is already fully open in regards to account history. 

and to me the most transparent and open the blockchain is, the best, it's an advantage against all traditional systems but that is just my view of it.

the best and more close shot  for privacy bitshares haves is the STEALTH development

anyways, [member=21490]Thom[/member] i hope we can still be friends besides this small difference :)

Of course!

As I mentioned in Telegram when you first discussed ES, I admitted my position about easy access to historical data was not a strong one.

Presumably the ES functionality will provide a significant improvement in the publics ability to search historical BTS data, so in that regard provides access for some people that would not be able to pull it otherwise. In that respect it reduces privacy. I will readily admit for programmers and others higher up the technology food chain all the BTS blockchain data is available with some effort to code the query (assuming someone wants to try to report on multiple accounts).

Think about an explorer that only requires an account name (or a list of account name) as input and it dumps 100% of the history for that account(s). Although such info can be obtained from CF or your block explorer, it would take a lot of time to manually click-click to obtain it all.

I would greatly prefer such a tool did not exist as that improves my privacy to some degree. It does so by reducing the number of people capable of dumping all of my history. I don't see my privacy as a binary, all or none issue. Whatever I can do to make it difficult for others to see my bts history (require some minimal amount of effort to get it, pay a fee, pay a programmer, pay with the time to use CF etc) the more private my activities are. Privacy is a gray, not a binary scale.

BTW, does the API provide a way to determine which accounts have the greatest amount of transaction history?
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere - MLK |  Verbaltech2 Witness Reports: https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,23902.0.html