May 23, 2024
Web3 companies form Universal Privacy Alliance for digital rights advocacy

A group of Web3 companies has formed the Universal Privacy Alliance to advocate for digital rights.

The consortium of digital privacy-focused entities has joined forces to inaugurate the world’s premier trade association dedicated to safeguarding digital privacy rights.

In a move addressing the escalating concern for digital data protection, a coalition comprising Nym, Protocol Labs, Filecoin Foundation, Oasis, and Aztec have united under the banner of the Universal Privacy Alliance (UPA). Spearheaded by Nym and incorporated in Switzerland, the association heralds a watershed moment following Edward Snowden’s call to action at DevConnect in Colombia last year.

The core mission of the UPA is to consolidate the collective expertise of privacy technology leaders and become the unified voice advocating for the preservation of privacy rights in digital landscapes. Two immediate focal points for the alliance are eIDAS and the Digital Services Act, pivotal areas that challenge end-to-end encryption and business model innovation in Web3.

Since the United Nations’ proclamation three years ago declaring digital privacy a basic human right, the UPA is committed to realizing this declaration, aligning with the UN’s principles by championing privacy as a fundamental human right in the digital realm.

A privacy discussion

Harry Halpin, representing Nym and a founding member of UPA, stressed the importance of prioritizing privacy in online platforms. In a statement, he said, “The Universal Privacy Alliance gives those of us building privacy-centric technologies a unified voice to advocate for policy reforms that protect security, anonymity, and informed consent on the internet.”

A cornerstone principle of the UPA is the advocacy of “privacy by design,” ensuring that technology is built with privacy and security as the default settings across the technological spectrum. The alliance aims to create secure digital interactions free from incessant surveillance, exploitation, or commercialization.

Formally established as a legal entity in Switzerland, the founding members have each contributed an initial investment of $15,000, cumulating in $150,000 allocated for UPA’s immediate coordination and advocacy efforts. The alliance plans to further its impact by appointing a coordinator for lobbying and hosting key events, with EthDenver being the next scheduled summit.

Moreover, the UPA’s roadmap encompasses policy education, shared legal counsel among members, and a legal fund aimed at upholding privacy-centric practices. In a bid for inclusivity, the alliance is exploring accessible membership fees for smaller organizations, subject to democratic voting by the UPA general assembly.

Will Scott, another founding member, said in a statement, “Our formalization as the Unified Privacy Alliance signifies our joint commitment to championing privacy rights in an increasingly digitized world. With a united voice, we aim to educate policymakers, empower smaller organizations, and advocate for user-centric privacy practices in technology.”

Nym is an open-source, incentivized, and decentralized privacy system safeguarding communications patterns in digital services. Protocol Labs, an innovation network driving computing breakthroughs, focuses on supporting the research and development of private communication systems through its Private Retrieval Fund.

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