When Edward Snowden exposed the scale and depth of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, his findings led to another disheartening revelation: that our Internet has become too centralized. Webmail services like Yahoo and Google and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are convenient and efficient platforms, as well as easy to use, but they collect massive amounts of user data that can facilitate intelligence spying and other types of snooping. Meanwhile, securer methods of communication are often cumbersome and overly technical for the average user who would like to send an email without having to download and set up various software. Yet after Snowden’s leaks, an increasing demand for securer alternatives has led to the development of anti-surveillance products with an eye towards being user friendly.
That is certainly true for Miguel Freitas, a research engineer based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who decided to create a decentralized alternative to Twitter to counter NSA spying and protect against shutdowns of social media sites; but it would also be “something that my grandmother could use,” Freitas tells techPresident.