As with most crypto-(something) projects, real or potential legal issues are, or can anytime become, a problem.
But MAID investors shouldn’t worry, because that doesn’t apply to MaidSafe and the SafeNet.
Before I touch upon the latest one, I’ll briefly mention previous issues:
- The botched initial coin offering (ICO). Not many are complaining because MAID is trading above that, but trust me, this is not out of scope)
- MaidSafe QE1. MaidSafe the company sold counterfeit MAID coins – I wrote about that incident here.
- The highly dubious public fundraising by MaidSafe the company (aka Bankruptcy in the Future)
- The supposed JV in Hong Kong (part of the crazy stock offering above) that – if it materializes – obliges the Hong Kong JV to help the Chinese authorities with information gathering.
- Convenience is Law. Or it has been so far. For example, several years after the ICO it’s still not entirely clear how SafeNet “rewards” will work, who (content posters, farmers, etc.) will get paid how much, and so on. These are all open to interpretation at the convenience of The MaidSafe Foundation (i.e. MaidSafe LLC).
Mind you that none of these have been settled or forgotten. All are lurking under the surface and waiting to attack should the project collapse or MAID collapse to its true value of zero.
The latest point of concern is the new UK IP bill, which if passed would oblige companies to provide a backdoor to the government.
According to the community expert and one of forum mods neo, there’s nothing to worry about.
Obviously there is the bootstrap servers (initially), but they can be kept by any “branch” of MaidSafe outside of the UK, or Australia, or any other country with mandatory retention laws that cover such situations. Even in Australia at the moment our intrusive data retention laws would exclude such a company as MaidSafe, and it seems that our laws and the UK were birthed from the same people.
Funny how the planned Hong Kong Joint Venture company isn’t on the list of potential offshore locations, while the non-existent branches in “other countries” are!
Another forum activist, Tim87, suggests that the reason this law wouldn’t apply to MaidSafe is because MaidSafe only writes the software.
Still, SAFE will have no provider, so who will be targeted by this law? Maidsafe, the company, is just a bunch of peeps working on an open source project; they don’t own or control any of the infrastructure, i.e. our computers. It would be interesting to see what people say about more well known, but similar, things, for example bittorrent when it’s used with DHT but without trackers.
Asking for retained data is useless as the running system has no servers kept by MaidSafe and no data logs to retain.
That is complete nonsense.
In order to help the reader visualize neo’s point, we picked an image from one of space blogs. Neo is basically saying MaidSafe can operate out of Outer Space, without any regard for laws of this planet. (Additionally, the picture shows MaidSafe in the middle as a black hole which symbolizes their fundraising and development efforts so far.)
As a reminder, MaidSafe at the moment operates several data services of concern:
- Vaults. They use rented computers to host all the illegal crap that may exist on the network right now. This will eventually go away, assuming their development attempts to complete user-hosted vaults bear fruit.
- Seed servers. These are similar to BitTorrent tracking servers. The maid difference between BitTorrent and MaidSafe is BitTorrent serves just any data. Their users can run their own, and then any issue that happens is the user’s responsibility. But MaidSafe – just like Bitcoin – will have to operate this service because this service must be trusted. While they can’t control what’s stored on the network, they sure as hell can record IP addresses of all users that will have ever connected to their network.
Eventually SafeNet seed servers could run on the Tor network in which case client data collected would be fairly useless, but even if that were the case MaidSafe would be on the shaky ground with regard to aiding and abetting. Perhaps not immediately, but as soon as first examples of criminal uses of SafeNet appear in the press.
A minor point here is that MaidSafe has been trying to avoid the use of Tor for anything, because it’d look bad. What’s the point of having a “SAFE” network if it can’t provide safety without Tor? Therefore although Tor could probably help them in some way, expect them to try that only after all other approaches have been exhausted. In the meantime SafeNet users will remain exposed to data gathering activities by state actors and service providers.
This post is meant to highlight various legal issues that may confront MaidSafe and the project in the future. And as long MaidSafe is involved in this community nonsense, the same legal risks should dissuade any potential business user from making licensing or other deals with the company. On the other hand, if they ever exit this hopeless project, then “investors” will come after them.
The one thing MaidSafe community “experts” are right about is at the moment the government probably doesn’t care about SafeNet, and that is for the same reason I don’t own MAID: SafeNet is unlikely to ever matter.
In Other UnSafe News
To give you an idea of just how clueless the community is, check out this link: “a combination of Ethereum and SAFE (Alpha presumably) for anonymised medical studies based on wearables data”.
Why the hell should I need Ethereum here?
I can sell my (sanitized) wearables data from home over Tor using a Raspeberry Pi and pay-per-request (in BTC) metering provided by the free software from 21.co.
And why wouldn’t I save/sync my data to my own storage and anonymize it before I sell it?
Don’t forget that you’d have to pay for all data stored on SafeNet, and then – if anyone actually wants a copy – get a fraction of that back. The first person or organization who gains access to this data should simply make a copy to Amazon S3 or other more effective network that’s open to the world, and monetize it properly.