In a press release on Nov. 13, the organization — which consists of “ordinary, anonymous people from different countries” — said it will donate the money to startups which support the idea of anonymity and specifically operate in such fields as the protection of personal information, tools of anonymity, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Fighting the misuse of people’s personal data
The idea behind the donations is to fight the manipulation of people by politics, social media networks and other parties who collect individuals’ personal data, which Unkown Fund says has proved to be an “amazing and frightening” tool.
The project supposedly started on 4chan, an anonymous English-language imageboard, and claims to have the support of hacktivist group Anonymous, which it cites as saying:
“Now the main goal of large corporations is to collect as much information as possible about the personal lives of people, and then use it for their enrichment. And they do a great job of it by making ordinary people get poorer. We are ready to fight for change and protect people.”
The Unknown Fund argues that the deployment of blockchain technology and digital currencies could help protect people’s rights and freedoms, and eventually develop a new environment with a trustworthy monetary system.
Blockchain in personal data protection
Many industry players have questioned blockchain’s ability to ensure personal data protection. Speaking with Cointelegraph in August, Timothy Paolini, a board member at NYU Blockchain, stated:
“Blockchains are built around the principles of decentralization, removing the single point of failure risk (think Equifax servers) and cutting out unnecessary third parties by establishing a more direct, peer-to-peer network. This also maintains your privacy and control of your data from third-party apps as data rests at the protocol instead of the application layer.”
Deirdre K. Mulligan, an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, argued that blockchains do not inherently protect your identity, as they can be manipulated by their architects to be centralized and non-anonymous. Mulligan stated:
“Companies can exert a lot of control over how they design an application, through its architecture, default settings, what it communicates in its privacy policies, and what it does in practice. The value for a consumer concerned about her privacy would depend on the blockchain application and the kind of data collected and processed by it.”