How Data Collection Networks Are Powering A Silent Blockchain-Like Revolution

Blockchain technology is largely associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but this type of decentralized approach has a lot to offer the world in the arenas of internet transparency and democracy.
5 min read
peer to peer - peers around the globe - can be used for data collection networks to maintain data transparency

In this article we will discuss:

The internet was originally intended to be collaborative, and equally accessible to all

Blockchain-like technology has the power to make the internet more secure, efficient, and transparent leading to a pure free market. This is actually the way the internet was originally intended – a World Wide Web where people could freely access, and exchange information and goods.

Monopolistic entities both from the business community and legal sector have worked hard to achieve the opposite. When the digital world is opaque:

  • Consumers end up paying higher prices and being served misinformation
  • Access to data is impeded (this may include everything from government documents to corporate financials)
  • Fraudulent behavior can be more easily hidden
  • Public health crises, and scientific developments, can get bogged down by inaccurate reporting

This is where Blockchain technology comes into play.

Blockchain as a precursor to a data revolution

Blockchain, when stripped down to its barebone basics is really any peer-to-peer decentralized system which enables parties to act freely as long as they follow the predefined rules of engagement. Ethereum, a popular cryptocurrency, is fueled by tenets created by its developers – it has an underlying code which can be leveraged by other blockchain technologies to create unique products, services, and applications.

Typically, blockchain is used to record transactional information but it can also be used to collect data from different entities. The important thing is that its ledgers are decentralized and transparent. It is in this way that blockchain allows the free exchange of goods, value, and data. By dividing up the ‘load’ of both data collection and distribution, for example, this system creates the ultimate key to transparency – no one entity is the ‘owner’ or exclusive ‘network’ through which virtual objects can be sent or received. This is the baseline for the silent blockchain-inspired data revolution.

How data collection networks are being used to create a free market internet

This is exactly the point at which global data collection platforms, like Bright Data’s (formerly Luminati Networks), make their debut. Using Bright Data’s model as a baseline, let’s unpack how their technology makes use of peer-based network principles:

Bright Data’s SDK program:

Outline of how Bright Data's SKD works between apps, businesses, app developers and peers

Image source: Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks)

Similar to blockchain theory, Bright Data’s SDK has an underlying code sequence created by in-house developers. That code sequence is given over to app developers, who then implement it on their SDK manager. This creates a mutually beneficial scenario for all involved parties:

  • App developers and business owners have added an additional way to monetize their software as they get paid on a monthly basis based on the quantity of opted in peers they have.
  • Peers or app users who voluntarily opt-in, are reimbursed for adding their device to Bright Data’s data collection network with a better user experience (either in the form of a free premium subscription or ad-free usage). Peers can opt-in, and opt-out at any time and at their own discretion.
  • Fully vetted companies can collect public web information by routing secure traffic through user devices allowing them to collect ethically-sound open-source data.

Clarification: Bright Data does not have access to user devices and only a small portion of traffic is routed in this way when user devices are idle.

Peer-to-peer data collection is good both for businesses and consumers. A good example of this symbiotic relationship is creating more competitive offers, and pricing when it comes to travel options, services and consumer goods. The same consumers who are being rewarded for participating in the SDK program, are now also able to benefit from a more competitive internet marketplace.

Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks)'s SDK explain in how it improves user experience, increases revenue stream, increases data and transparency overall online

Image source: Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks)

Peer-to-Peer data collection

The other similarity between data collection platforms like Bright Data’s and blockchain technology is its peer-to-peer approach. The very nature of a network for millions of people around the world , powered by millions of other people is the ultimate achievement of the decentralized flow of data, information, and value.

This is not to say that this system goes without checks and balances. The way in which Bright Data, for example, ensures that network activity is compliant, legal, and ethical is by serving as a strict gatekeeper to its peer network. This is enforced in a variety of ways including:

Third-party audits – Bright Data continuously works with leading independent firms to ensure its networks are up to regulation, security, and legal standards.

The bounty program – Invites the public to spot and alert Bright Data of any perceived security breaches.

Ongoing compliance – At the onset, new users are strictly vetted to ensure their use case is compliant, legal, and ethical. Networks users’ activity is monitored for the first week of usage along with random log checks performed by an in-house compliance officer.

It should be mentioned that technology is always advancing faster than regulation and in effort to provide a framework for responsible conduct, a committee has been established.

What the future holds

As corporations decide that they want a transparent view of their industries, and everyday people aspire to a higher standard of public database accessibility, data collection networks are on track to help the internet fulfill its original purpose:

An unbrokered and unhindered place where data and ideas flow freely.