Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Decentralized Technologies to Ensure Freedom of Speech — Inbar Preiss / Pt. 1

Difficulty: 0

So, at first I think it would be nice to start with introduction part.

Could you introduce yourself to our audience and briefly tell what is your background, what are you doing

and how did you become familiar with decentralized technologies? - Okay.

So, my name is Inbar Preiss.

I'm originally from Israel, but I grew up in Europe, mostly in the Netherlands, and...

I was introduced to cryptocurrencies and digital economies and so on

around three years ago from a friend, and ever since I've been writing on different kinds of platforms,

as a journalist or different kind of writing.

And last year I started working on a project in Israel about

decentralizing media and journalism in conflict zones,

but specifically starting in Israel-Palestine. It led me on a whole journey to find out a bit more about

what is the power of decentralizing

news and media in different kind of circumstances.

What are you going to talk about today? - So, tomorrow actually I'll talk about,

kind of inspired by my own project that I've been working on,

but I want to talk about the role of decentralized media in conflict zones and look at...

What is the story about your project?

So, I started working on this project one year ago, which is offering to

decentralize media in conflict zones, while specifically starting in Israel-Palestine, since I'm

from there, and the team is also mostly from there.

So, we want to be able to expose the conflict from within by facilitating dialogue for people

that are living in the conflict and also allow others to come in and

tune in and to talk to the people directly and see what is going on.

So, for example, there has been attack in Gaza

and you hear this on a news, but you want to check with someone who's there,

maybe see different perspectives, hear what they have to say, how they have experienced it.

Maybe something that you read was... you're skeptical about it,

you want to see someone else's opinion. Then you can find them based on search engine,

and hopefully they speak the same language and they're from the place that you want to know more about,

and then they can tell you,

you know, try to answer your questions and have a conversation about it.

So, if I understand you correctly, you help people to communicate with others? - Yes, basically.

And how successful is this project?

So, it hasn't started yet, we're still in a developing phase and so on.

So, well, we'll see how successful we'll be.

But we're hoping for it to really become a journalist community, so people can also write and

provide resources for communication and dialogue, and also gamifying

conversations in a way that talking to your political enemy becomes a little bit easier.

Because there's a bit more of a structure of how to talk to each other.

But do you feel that actually people from both sides are interested in this

connection, in this communication to have for this conversation?

There are... definitely, you know, perhaps it's a minority,

but there's definitely people who are eager to talk on both sides. And for me

it's important that this platform remains in a way

neutral, so that it's not just, you know, left-wing liberals that are hoping to talk to the other side,

anyone can verify their news by reaching out to someone who's experiencing the news.

What is the biggest threat of

journalistic freedom nowadays?

I think there's many different layers of journalism. There is, perhaps,

government-funded journalism, and there are different kinds of journalism,

which may not always have the same problems, and different fields may not have the same problems.

So, for example, just looking at conflict and journalism on conflict,

political issues have a very big influence on that.

So, reports from Israel on the same story versus reports in Palestine will have a very big difference in the way

the story is presented, the way people are presented.

So, in conflict zones, I think political agendas have a big role to play.

But for every issue, it may be different kind of problem.

You mean manipulation of information? Then how can we deal with

manipulation of information and with censorship?

I think that... having different sources.

So, perhaps you see one thing from one source,

and then perhaps you feel skeptical and then you can go to another source. And maybe

the more we can go closer to the source itself, the actual people experiencing the reality, I think

the more holistic and complete picture we can get of the situation.

And when it comes to technological tools,

how decentralized technologies might help people and

journalists in general to preserve freedom and

to have sources for a more objective information?

So, I think that decentralized networks are very important here, because

there's no central authority that's controlling,

what information is left out or

who can participate. Anyone can participate, and the mechanisms for achieving quality and

respect, those perhaps are also organically formed. So, if someone is disrespectful on the platform,

perhaps they get downgraded.

So, then there's less incentive for other people to have the interaction with them.

This is the kind of mechanism that we know from Airbnb, from Uber, which seems to work quite well.

But then if the network is completely decentralized, unlike Uber,

or Airbnb where there is still essential authority,

it doesn't belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone at the same time.

So I think that's a very important part for self-sovereignty. And also,

decentralized networks can provide people the security and the anonymity they might need,

because there's a lot of... there might be very strong impact for

an Israeli political thinking and vice versa.

So it's very important to keep the privacy for those who need it.

Yeah, but at the same time don't you think that technological tools

have potential for liberation as well as for dictatorship?

And according to you,

is it possible that blockchain technology in some way

might be the foundation, the basis for a perfect surveillance state?

Yeah, I mean, blockchain technology is a very innovative tool that just like any other tool can be used

for mass surveillance as well as liberation, it's all about how you use it,

just like the Internet can be used for both sides of the spectrum and anything between at the same time.

So, it's all a matter of how you use a tool.

For example, if you use blockchain technology, if you use a private blockchain, and then all the information

is still collectable by one central source, so then that might need for more mass surveillance

or dictatorship kind of scenario

Well, if it's decentralized and public blockchain,

then it has different consequences.

You also mentioned about Israel and Palestine.

So, according to you, is it possible to have a conversation with your enemy?

Yes, definitely.

There are many initiatives in Israel that bring together Israelis and Palestinians and different minorities.

And these conversations are taking place every day,

and there are a lot of difficulties involved, sometimes they are physical,

sometimes they are emotional, or historical.

But yes, if this happens every day, online and also in physical reality.

As a journalist, could you provide some tips,

how can we deal with censorship

in highly government-controlled areas or military areas?

So, I don't have a personal experience with that yet.

But there is a protocol called 1.5, and this is a protocol that is anti-censorship in its core.

So that means that data has never entered into central servers, but it remains within part of the network.

So, every node of the network, every phone or laptop, it becomes a node and the data is stored on there.

So that means that there is no central server

and no collection of data in that kind of way. And also there's different layers using different

anonymous networks, such as I2P and Tor. So, that means that if perhaps one fails it moves on to the next

layer, and this is a very, very powerful tool,

which is completely in promotion of freedom of speech and anti-censorship.

What keeps you motivated to work 'till these days?

What motivates me to work?

Well, for my own project, I feel like it's a very important platform to be able to communicate directly with people

that may be on the other side of the border, and we don't have access to

hear their stories or their side of the story that we may hear on the news.

But what we hear on the news often has different kinds of agendas or different perspectives.

Then we can't hear specifically from the people

experiencing reality, so that for me is a very big motivator for my own project.

And in general, for my other work, I just really like writing.

As far as I'm informed, you are also going to talk about

digital colonialism. Could you explain what is that?

Actually, I didn't manage to bring it into the presentation in the end.

When I wrote the intro, I was sure I'll be able to put it in. But this is a topic that really fascinated me, because

I've also had an academic background in International Relations, and specifically post-colonial relations.

So it's very interesting for me to realize that actually social media in a way is very much structured

to the Western globalist kind of narratives

and ideals. And the way the Internet is structured is, you know, very Western.

So, how is it that the way we interact with the Internet is actually

perpetuating the same ideals that perpetuate colonialism, and so on.

I still have to look into it a bit more, but I feel like it's fascinating topic.

But how can we face, how can we recognize this digital colonialism,

that we have this problem, this issue?

So, I think being aware that it may be an issue.

it's already a first step, and also allowing for tools where there's no... I think decentralized tools offer,

perhaps it's a kind of solution to this, because

then you're allow people to create more for themselves,

to create their own digital spaces

rather than just use Facebook, which already has the whole, you know,

template and everything written out. So I'm not exactly sure, but I think that

decentralized technology has a lot to offer in this direction.

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