By Marco Wutzer, senior analyst, Disruptive Profits
In 1956, the world started to switch from paper records to electronic data storage. That’s the year a team at IBM invented the computer hard disk.
It was the first commercially available hard disk. And it looked like this…
The world’s first hard disk was as big as two refrigerators. But it could only store a few hundred pages of text. Source: © Arnold Reinhold / Wikimedia Commons
Despite weighing more than a ton, it had a storage capacity of only 3.75 megabytes. The entire hard disk could only store the equivalent of a few hundred pages of text.
By 1980, IBM had developed the first 1-gigabyte hard disk. It was the size of a refrigerator and weighed 550 pounds.
And at $40,000 ($129,231 in today’s money), it wasn’t cheap.
Today, smartphones and laptops have hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. They only cost a few hundred dollars, and you can carry them around wherever you go. Because of this, we create and store enormous amounts of data.
I’m sure we can all agree it’s convenient. But there’s a massive flaw in the current system.
In a moment, I’ll show you what that is, and what it means for you today. But before we look at where we’re going, we need to understand where we’re coming from.
The internet started as a way to share scientific documents.
There was a high level of trust among the early network participants. That’s why the original internet protocols were designed without user privacy and data security in mind.
But in today’s far-reaching digital world, privacy and security are crucial. There are several reasons for this…
First, the internet is easily censored.
The internet is based on Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. These addresses help to route data packets from the sender to their final destination.
The geographic location of an IP address can usually be determined down to the neighborhood.
Each internet service provider manages a range of IP addresses, allowing governments to easily discover the identities of internet users.
Many governments take full advantage of that, dictating what their citizens can hear, see, and who they can communicate with.
And internet users and servers hosting content that don’t comply are routinely disconnected from the internet.
Second, data is becoming increasingly more valuable, and data theft is a big problem.
This system based on IP addresses makes it easy for hackers and organized crime to target specific servers. It allows them to bring down or hack into financial institutions, businesses, research labs, and individuals.
A Non-Negotiable Right
There are countless examples.
Yahoo’s data centers were hacked in 2013, and all 3 billion user accounts were compromised.
Sony Pictures got hacked in 2014. One hundred terabytes of emails, passwords, finances, marketing plans, and even several entire unreleased films were exposed.
And of course, there was the Equifax hack in 2017.
Hackers made away with the sensitive data – including names, Social Security numbers, and home addresses – of over 140 million Americans.
So you can see why digital privacy and security are crucial in today’s internet-centric world.
Unfortunately, many aspects of the traditional internet are moving in the wrong direction. Consider this…
Every day, more than 4 million hours of video content is uploaded just to YouTube alone.
On Facebook, over 4.3 billion messages are posted daily.
There are over 1.9 billion websites.
Over 269 billion emails are sent every single day.
The personal files you store with online services (such as Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud), all the world’s websites, all communications (such as texts and WhatsApp messages), and all online video content like what’s on YouTube and Netflix are stored on servers in data centers.
In other words, the entire internet is stored in data centers all over the world.
These massive data centers contain over 1,400 exabytes of data. One exabyte equals one billion gigabytes.
That means there are 1.4 trillion gigabytes of data stored in data centers worldwide. That’s equal to 280 billion movies (at the rate of 5 gigabytes per movie) and 333 trillion photos.
This is possible in part because data storage has become very cheap, compact, and easily available.
But there is one aspect of digital data storage that hasn’t changed since the 1950s…
The internet, our personal files, and all communication are stored in big, centralized silos. There are only around 8 million data centers that contain all the world’s data.
The trend is towards more centralization as data centers become larger and the number of data centers shrinks.
With email, it’s even worse. Only three companies – Apple, Google, and Microsoft – supply the email clients receiving over 85% of all emails sent globally.
And it goes beyond massive corporations just storing your data…
One of the Internet’s Biggest Flaws
Ever since Edward Snowden’s heroic actions in 2013, we all know that government intelligence services are mining and analyzing all our personal data and all communications.
And governments are not alone in tapping into these data silos and our communication networks.
You probably remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It’s just one example in which a company harvested personal information. In this case, over 87 million Facebook users were profiled and manipulated.
The massive mining and exploitation of centralized data sources and the monitoring and analyzing of all our communications is one of the internet’s biggest flaws.
But now, a new internet is slowly taking shape… one that’s decentralized and encrypted.
This new internet is changing the way we store data and the way we communicate. And it’s taking over parts of the traditional internet at its core.
Decentralized and encrypted technology will replace the inferior internet technology we currently use.
All over the world, small tech companies are doing exactly that. They’re working to give us back control over our own communications.
After all, privacy is a non-negotiable right for a civilized society. It is also crucial for businesses working with valuable information.
And it can mean the difference between life and death for whistleblowers, like Snowden, and people suffering under oppressive regimes.
Communication is part of almost every human activity. It’s time we upgrade the outdated centralized architecture with vastly superior, privacy-preserving technology.
To disruptive profits,
Senior Analyst, Disruptive Profits
Editor’s note: Marco just released an urgent video that all Dispatch readers should watch right away.
In short, a devastating cyberweapon is wreaking havoc all over the United States. It has been used to crash drones, shut down ATMs, and sabotage airports. Even the financial markets and the electrical grid are vulnerable to attack. Worst of all, hackers can easily order this cyberweapon online for as little as $7.32.
Right now, a tiny $10 million company is rolling out a brilliant solution that will defang this terrifying cyberweapon. It could soon replace an outdated $2.9 TRILLION technology – and hand early investors a fortune.