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Tor Bair on Building a Better, Private Internet

Tor Bair on Building a Better, Private Internet

Apr 5, 2021

Follow the White Rabbit podcastStart Listening

Tor Bair is on a mission to make privacy an essential part of the Internet by promoting decentralized technologies that focus on keeping information private.

For Tor, decentralization is the key to improving user-experience on the internet. "I am very passionate about this ethos of empowering users around the world, giving them new access, new applications that aren't so centrally controlled because it gives them more freedom, it gives them more choice, but also it protects them," he said on the latest Follow the White Rabbit Podcast.

Tor founded the Secret Foundation, an institution devoted to financing, building, researching, and scaling adoption of decentralized technologies for the public good, with privacy at their core. The Secret Foundation aims to amplify the efforts of privacy-preserving networks and applications while providing the necessary education for these technologies by advancing research and producing educational materials.

Tor's focus on the intersection of privacy and decentralization stems from his belief that the two are inextricably linked. "Decentralization requires privacy to succeed, and privacy solutions require decentralization to succeed," Tor said.

Privacy requires decentralization because centralized entities have no incentive to protect user privacy. "Global governments love their own privacy; they don't really love the privacy of their citizens," Tor argues. "Enterprises are no different. Enterprises love to keep secrets from their competitors ... but they want to know absolutely everything about their user base so their user base can be repackaged and remonetized."

With no incentive for centralized systems to promote privacy, decentralized technologies are the only answer. However, as Tor explains, "all blockchains have the same problem by design -- which is, everything is public." With every piece of information available on a public blockchain, observable by everyone on the network, "these applications are vulnerable ... and it's the users that ultimately get hurt," Tor said.

The solution is to seek privacy-enhancing solutions within decentralized networks. Tor started this mission with Secret Network -- an open-source blockchain that does not expose data to anyone -- and continues to advance decentralized privacy by promoting privacy-preserving technologies through the Secret Foundation. As Tor puts it, "for any decentralized applications, privacy needs to be at the core in order to protect users."

To learn more about Tor's pursuit for a private internet, follow us down the rabbit hole. Listen to the conversation here or on your favorite streaming service.

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