Mozilla Festival 2018 — My Experience

I got a chance to attend the Mozilla Festival 2018 and it was a great learning experience.

About MozFest

Mozilla Festival or MozFest, brings together coders, journalists, teachers, hackers — anyone and everyone working towards a healthier internet. This year’s MozFest was held in London at Ravensbourne University from 26th October to 28th October with the theme of “Your Data & You”.

We had applied to Mozfest in early August to facilitate a session under the ‘Decentralization’ space. Our session was titled ‘Decentralised Publishing’ and it focused on suggestions to improve the current model of publishing and reporting.

Focusing on the core idea of an open internet, we envisioned a system where publishing is completely decentralised and anonymous. One where there was no central point of attack and the author cannot be traced. This would help journalists and whistle-blowers to safely and swiftly disseminate reports.

News sites and publishing platforms face a constant threat from state sponsored hacker groups and anonymous trolls. It is also pretty easy for a document or article to be traced back to its author, this is the threat faced by many living in oppressive regimes and war torn countries.

Our Session

Me and Sethu Sathyan explaining decentralised publishing

Our solution to the problem was to use blockchain in conjunction with a decentralised file storage system to completely automate and decentralise publishing. Although integrating blockchain looks like an overkill, we decided to add it for the ability to authenticate the trail of data and maintain anonymity.

This system would be hosted on a blockchain and the corresponding data would be placed on a decentralised file storage system (like IPFS), with only a referencing hash stored on the block. Any node (or peer or system) that joins the network will be able to replicate the functioning of the entire network and the network can stay alive as long as any one of the node is alive. In this type of distributed system, all nodes are equal, which means there is no single point of attack and bringing down such a system is increasingly complex.

The audience were from different backgrounds like journalism, law, liberals arts, etc.. and we had an interesting session brainstorming ideas on how to better improve the system.

Mozilla Dialogues and Debates

Apart from sessions by facilitators, we also had a ‘Dialogues and Debates’ section where experts spoke on how they were working to build an open internet. Sir Tim Berners Lee spoke on his new project Solid — a step towards a completely decentralised internet. It was a great opportunity to pick his brain about the future of decentralisation.

You can find the slides used in our session here.

The concept of this session is a team effort and I’d like to thank my team members Sethu Sathyan, Kuruvilla George and Syam Kumar for their valuable inputs. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Netobjex family, it wouldn't have been possible without the support and guidance of you people.

Overall #Mozfest2018 was a great learning and networking experience, learned a lot from the pioneers of open source and made a lot of friends. Hope to meet everyone again at the next Mozfest. Cheers (Y)

Stanly is currently working as a Blockchain engineer. You can follow him here

I write about blockchain and tech.

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