OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Update: Decentralize the Network, Own and Protect Your Data

In order to fight against unlawful detention, it's important to make sure that the key data/resource (files, pictures, videos, contact lists, etc.) is owned and shared by the end-users. We need to decentralize the current network hierarchy.

Photo of Lei Niu
33 35

Written by

Scenario with Current Centralized Network Hierarchy:
  • Bob and Alice are two active human rights activists in China. Bob contacts Alice in a daily bases via social network.
  • Mark is Bob's attorney, they exchange emails all the time. Sometime, Bob will share some important evidences with Mark through online file-sharing system like Dropbox.
  • Bob is also working closely with AMNESTY International, he helps AMNESTY collecting information regarding the human rights issues in China. Bob shares the information with AMNESTY via email and online file-sharing system.
  • Bob usually shares his location with his family and friends by using social network.

After a long time spying on Bob, the government agents brake into Bob's home, and took him away. Usually, following immediate actions are taken by the government agents in terms of collecting and controlling data/information:
  • They will immediately take away Bob's computer and cellphone. Collection all the local information which can used to agains Bob.
  • They will check the Email Server to collect Bob's email contents and contact list, so probably they will find out Alice's information. 
  • They will check the File-sharing Server to collect all the data/information can be used to agains Bob. And remove all the data/information can be potentially used by Bob's supporters (Mark the attorney and AMNESTY) to help Bob.
  • They will also check the Social network Server to locate Bob and his group's recent activities. 
  • Finally, they will shut down the communication between the people around Bob by bring down certain numbers of different kind of servers, to make sure no one knows where Bob is.

What does this scenario tell us?
  • Local file is not safe, it is easy to be captured if the individual is facing an unlawful detention.
  • Under the centralized network hierarchy, the data stored/shared online is not safe, either. Actually, it's even worse. Mass data can be obtained easily.
  • All the communication around certain individual can be easily shut down by bring down the specific servers.
  • In this hierarchy, it's always easy for the powerful side (in this case, the government agents) to collect and control the key data resource, and use it to agains individuals. It's almost impossible for the individuals and their supporters (in this case, Mark, the attorney, and AMNESTY International) to access the critical data/information to help the individuals who's facing the unlawful detention.

How can we turn this situation around?
In order to restore the power back to the end user. We have to decentralize the current network hierarchy. It is definitely not a easy goal to achive. 
Fortunately, four talented young programmer from NYU's Courant Institute have been gathering a community to work on a open-source project called Diaspora, which I believe is the first step towards our goal here.
According to the Diaspora team " Diaspora aims to be a distributed network, where totally separate computers connect to each other directly, will let us connect without surrendering our privacy. We call these computers ‘seeds’. A seed is owned by you, hosted by you, or on a rented server. Once it has been set up, the seed will aggregate all of your information: your facebook profile, tweets, anything. We are designing an easily extendable plugin framework for Diaspora, so that whenever newfangled content gets invented, it will be automagically integrated into every seed"
This is not a job only belongs to the computer geeks, we can all be part of it by changing our own attitude and behavior when we are using internet services. It's time for everybody to realize that we should own our online data and identity. It's time to protect our own data and spread the word.

Scenario with Decentralized Network Hierarchy:
I really like  Ana Cecilia Santos and  Anne-Laure Fayard's concepts "Amnesty International Vending Machine / Info Hub" and "Amnesty International III Shift Van". Both of them really inspired me how this Decentralized Network concept can be applied. 
For example, according to Ana's "Info Hub" concept, "There could be a possibility of then retrieving back into the Amnesty Vending Machine /Info Hub (via USB or Bluetooth, etc), all the documented material from the locals, anonymously. Amnesty would pass this info on to relevant sources, for the advantage of the community, since they don't have access to computers and a way to upload the videos online or to Media entities". In this case, the Info Hub is most likely placed at a public place, which allows people access it easily. So how to secure the data in the Info Hub will become really critical. Following criterias must be considered:
  • Data can not be stored in the local drive inside each Info Hub
  • Data can not be stored in some centralized public server run by any commercial companies
  • Amnesty International and the relevant sources should the access to the data
To meet all the criterias above, a decentralized network is a required. In a decentrialized network hierarchy, all the Info Hub is just a data input node, no data is really stored locally. Instead of sending all the data to some specific servers run by a commercial company (for example Yahoo) or an organization (for example Amnesty International), all the data will distributed encryptedly into a huge number of private computer/server in the network. Of course, organizations like Amnesty International are granted with the authority to access these computer/server. So even someone tries to break the "Info Hub" down, and he will get nothing, and since there won't be any log files exist inside the "Info Hub", it will be impossible for him to track where the data has been sent.

Note:
This concept is highly inspired by the guest speak " Freedom in the Cloud" by Professor Eben Moglen from Columbia University and the Diaspora Project

-------------------------------------------------UPDATE-----------------------------------------------------------
Based on your feedbacks
Since I posted this concept, so many of you have been giving me great feedbacks, which have been forcing me to think this concept again and again. I'm going to summaries some of the discussions from the comment area and add some more thoughts have been in my mind for a while.

1. Is this concept trying to encourage people to get rid of local storage and move all the data to a decentralized network?
A: No. this concept is aiming your existing online activities, like exchange emails, share files and all kinds of data sharing via social network. We are not trying to convince people to totally abandon local data. We are trying to change the current network hierarchy to allow people to really own their online data. 

2. Is this concept only applied to computers with advanced hardware?
A: I mentioned that every computer should be able to be a server, so we don't really need to go through all the servers from those big companies or organizations to conduct our online activities. However, own server does not mean the computer needs advanced hardware. Actually, it does not have to be a computer at all. Tablet, smartphone, Anne-Laure's Shift Van, Ana's Vending Machine, all of them can be treat as a server.

3. Is this network going to chop my files into small pieces and distribute them to lots of servers?
A: This can be one of the scenarios, but definitely not the only option. The goal here is to allow users to really own the data, which means you have the right and power to determine how to share your file, and to whom share your file. You can chop your data and distribute them or have several copies of the original file on your friends servers and don't leave anything on your own computer.

4. Data encryption over the network?
A: I did not mention this in the original post. Thanks to  Marlon Bishop's comment, data encryption (example:  256 AES public key encryption) is a must have to improve the security of all your online activities.

5. Does this network automatically endanger everyone who's using it?
A: Generally speaking, this network hierarchy is trying to empower the end-users of the network from taking the power from the "big guys" who owns the data in current network hierarchy. Personally, I cannot think of any other kind of network hierarchy can be more dangerous then the existing one. Yes, everyone who's using the network can be in danger, however this decentralized network can make it harder and harder to track all the data traffics, since all the end-users have the ability to determine where to data goes, and what data will be left in local. 

6. Is it very hard to setup this network?
A: Based on the Diaspora project, to setup this network should be really simple and easy to do. All you need is a open-source application, which can be easily installed on all kinds of devices with different operating system. It can even be a plug and play application, which means, you can have the code in your small flash drive or in your smartphone and plug it to any device you can find anywhere to setup your node of the network, and complete your online activities on that device. Unplug it, then you are good to go without leaving any trace. This kind of mobility is really important in terms of helping the people who's in dangers and people around them.



At the end, I would love to thank all of you guys who's participate in this challenge, without you, there is not chance we can build this concept up. Thank you!

What kind of resources are needed to get this idea off the ground and/or support it over time?

If DIASPORA can approve it's value and achive the goal the team promised. We should be able to expect more implementation following up with a fairly low cost and an easy to apply infrastructure / interface.

My Virtual Team

Anne-Laure Fayard http://www.openideo.com/profiles/alf/ Vincent Cheng http://www.openideo.com/profiles/vincent/ Ana Cecilia Santos http://www.openideo.com/profiles/anaceciliaboman/ Jason George http://www.openideo.com/profiles/jasond/ Arjan Tupan http://www.openideo.com/profiles/arjantupan/ Vesna Misanovic http://www.openideo.com/profiles/ixchel/ Johannes Söllner: http://www.openideo.com/profiles/jcs32/ Marlon Bishop http://www.openideo.com/profiles/harpoonflyby/ Ashwin Gopi http://www.openideo.com/profiles/500520676/ Alan Hyman http://www.openideo.com/profiles/526872631/ Abhishek Ramakrishnan http://www.openideo.com/profiles/a210389/

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Technological viability: Can this concept be developed using existing technological tools and at a relatively low cost, will it work in areas with a limited technology infrastructure?

The development of this concept would require minimal technological input and/or would work in low tech areas - 0%

The development of this concept would need some specialist technological input and/or may not work in low tech areas - 37.5%

The development of this concept would be a large undertaking and/or may require extensive technological resource and cost - 62.5%

2. Awareness raising and information sharing: Does this concept help to raise awareness/educate people on the issues of unlawful detention?

This is a concept that, alongside being an active and functional tool, also raises awareness and educates users - 50%

This is a concept that, while being an active and functional tool, does not educate or raise awareness - 50%

This is a concept that is good at raising awareness and educating, but is not an active and functional tool - 0%

3. Usability: Is this concept ‘friendly’ to a diverse range of user, including those with limited literacy and technological skills?

This concept is simple to use and can be used in low literacy areas with little to no technological knowledge - 12.5%

This concept may necessitate the user is confident with technology, but requires only medium-level literacy skills - 75%

This is a concept that requires both a high-level of literacy and technological knowledge from the user - 12.5%

4. Maintenance and continuation: Is this a concept that could be sustained over a long period of time?

This is a concept that could be updated easily and maintained by local communities after Amnesty has left the equation - 25%

This is a concept that might need further development at a later date and/or may need Amnesty or another party’s continued involvement in order to thrive - 75%

his is a concept with a limited shelf-life and would potentially need a significant maintenance during its life-span - 0%

5. Scalability: Is this concept practically applicable across multiple regions without extensive adaptation; will it be pertinent to a wide group of people affected by diverse issues?

This concept is practically applicable across geographies and will be useful to a wide number of people - 50%

This concept will need to be adapted to cover different regions, but will be useful to many people - 50%

This concept will need little to no adaptation for use in different regions, but will only be useful to a limited number of people - 0%

33 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hello Lei, Great concept!, I´m just a little bit worried about this hierarchy of information working against the track of essential information to actually liberate the accused individual, making data hard to track could potentially make it harder for family members to track the bad guys as well?, I believe a decentralized hierarchy of information sharing could potentially deteriorate Internet´s saftey as well. In your proposed scenario it makes sense for information to be encrypted and hard to track, but what if the resolution of the case or proof of inocence depended on someone elses information being available and easy to track?, would like to hear your thoughts around this idea... Thanks and great work!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hello Lei, I like the general idea taking control of our own data and being able to control how we share it, also in the scenario you used I think it makes a lot of sense to make it harder to gather information from an individual; the only thing that scares me is that this same hierarchy could work against the person being charged if his freedom depended on getting someone elses information by the authorities. I believe this concept could work against general internet security and make it harder to get ¨the bad guys as well´´; could you elaborate on this concern I have?.. Thanks and good work!

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Lei for the update which takes into account all comments and clarifies what a distributed network could be and how it would make our data safer.
Hopefully, you can get some of the members of the Diaspora team (it was great to know that they found this concept interesting) or other computer scientists to develop this concept.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

First, this is basically a good idea, except for the part, if I understand correctly, you would never store files locally. If all of your stuff is always distributed, there would be an enormous data access lag. I am not even sure I could express it properly without resorting to expletives. I am not sure how a user would have any sort of useful time for example opening a word document, if the pieces of the document are literally all over the place, further some of the crucial pieces may reside on computers which are not currently available (machines go to sleep, are moved around, or go missing forever). You would literally never be able to access your own files unless "all the the stars were in alignment", and you might just lose all of your work into the ether.

A better way to do this, and you can already do this on your own today, would be to use something like PGP, or GPG with a virtual disk locally, and encrypt that disk to a private key with a strong passphrase. No government today can derive a 256-bit or higher private key, so your local data would for all purposes be permanently destroyed. The key itself would have to be encrypted and stored on a third party server somewhere else in a different legal jurisdiction.

Then you just automate backups of your PGP/GPG virtual disk to dropbox, or bittorrent, or whatever service of your chosing - it doesn't matter, with 256 AES public key encryption, it would basically take too many CIA computers too many years to crack.

So you can already do this today, for free, it's just a matter of getting your computer set up properly.

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Marion, thank you for the comments. I think data encryption is definitely needed and can be done by today's technologies. And it is important if the data is store locally. And you have a great point of view interms of what we should do if the computer/server is down and we cannot access our data, I will definitely think about this issue.

However, the concept here is more focusing on how can we protect our online activities. Which we don't really have the control of those data and information under current internet hierarchy. To make it more clear, here is an example, we can encrypt the file in our computer, but how about the pictures and tweets we've been posting online? Once you post it, you hand the control of these data over to a centralized system. There's no way you can stop someone to get those information if they can have the access to the centralized system (servers).

Let me know if you have any more suggestions to make this concept better. Thank you !

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I don't see how you can make something even more decentralized than Twitter. The basic idea behind Twitter is you have a single destination point for messages from all sorts of locations to arrive at - how they arrive to Twitter, is in a sense already distributed and anonymized. If you want an anonymous account, use a fake name, then use a web proxy when posting your messages.

Spam
Photo of Vincent Cheng

Hmm...interesting points Marlon and replies Lei.

The encryption approach is definitely important for security (whether local or distributed storage).

As for the lag and stars being in alignment, these are clearly issues, but, in general, I'm open to the possibility that the Diaspora team and general tech community will make breakthroughs here (after all, 10 years ago, who thought we could use Google Docs for realtime document, spreadsheet, etc. collaboration in the cloud; or download large media files through P2P filesharing).

Finally, in terms of decentralization, this is not just about avoiding tracking, but also preserving information integrity in areas where repressive governments actively censor Internet sites (not just by blocking foreign social media but also ordering popular domestic social media sites to turn over, filter out, & remove various content; which is exactly what China does by blocking Twitter, and tracking and censoring people on Weibo, the local Chinese version of Twitter).

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

As a whole I support this concept. It is again using what is already in use today to address a situation not normally associated with said technology. My only concern is the "what if" that would be associated with those potential "detainers" getting ready access to this information and having a better idea of how to identify their potential victims.

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO

Hello Lei, congratulations on your concept making it to the short list. The expert panel loved the potential of your idea to disrupt the technology landscape and social networking platforms.

You might take a look at sites such as The Guardian Project (https://guardianproject.info/) for inspiration. Is there a way that users could specify who receives what information? You might want to design for allowing people to reach out to both small and large groups. Please keep pushing this idea in terms of how you think it might become a reality and definitely tap into the OpenIDEO community for technology expertise.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Really a good idea, Lei. As I understand it this is essentially like a Torrent with encryption? But does it not automatically endanger everyone participating in the network? Unless you find a way to masquerade the other "servers". But even if each server knew only a few others, the network could easily be compromised by a central authority with full control over Internet communication, could it not? Not necessarily in the sense of gaining control over encrypted data, but in identifying all people participating in hiding information from them. I guess you would have to find a way to cloak in some way the exact position of servers in addition to spread your data among them. The encryption part itself may be enough to be arrested, even if you just host a server (e.g. your home PC).

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Johannes, thank you for the comments. This decentralized network idea is kind of like a Torrent with encryption. However, you also mentioned threats can be created by a cntral authority with full control over the internet communitcation, and this is exactly the kind of stucture we are tying to remove, with is the centralized network. And getting rid of the centralized network is the way to limit the threats you were talking about. It will be so hard for some one (government, special agents) to collect information without authentications from all the nodes spread through the network. They don't even know where to start looking, since there is not centralized information (like a data map).

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

That sounds really great. My network know-how is not substantial enough to understand the details. I just assumed that either reserved ports would be a giveaway or in/outgoing traffic monitoring of a particular server would allow identification of potentially uninvolved others. However, if this can be solved it is really great protection for political minorities or similar. I even based a concept on this one (transparency-through-anonymous-media).

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hu Lei,

Well done, I like a lot your scenario, especially part "what happens later."
We (three of us, each with a deep experience in IT) discussed similar idea. Our cincerns:
1. Access point: I doubt that many people will trust themselves

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Sorry, line interrupted, continuing: 1. I doubt that many people will trust themselves and access any public place to store the data

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Vesna,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Since you guys have a deep experience in IT, I would love to get more detailed feedbacks from you to make this concept more practical.

Lei

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Sorry, hope this time will be OK. The problem is that even one case of arresting BEFORE the data will be stored is enough to undermine teh entire concept.
2. Sharing data (your computer storage, power etc.) is known from the whale project and some other projects requiring bigger resources (huge computation). It seems to me very similar to "Diaspora", but it could be that I did not understand everything. It is a GREAT concept and we also believe that the solution is there, together with the tunneling concept of internet access. Still, a few problems:
*to access the first node
*the bigger the network, the most powerfull, the less secure
*everything (software needed) could be blocked in those countries, the only possibility is to educate and motive a hige mass of people to use it before it is banned

We will try to lean on your concept, if we come up with some additional ideas (like simple ones: encript your mail, use tor technology, use mirror sites of amnesty international etc.)
Good luck,

Vesna

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Vesna,

Below are my understanding and thoughts about your concerns:
1. You are right, the worst thing can happen is arresting BEFORE the data will be stored distributely and removed from local drive. I thank if we dig deeper, there will be lots of brilliant ideas emerge to address this scenario. For example - one hotkey to start sending all un-sent data out and remove them locally, I guess this quick action should be completable even facing a suddent break in and arrest.
2. To access the first node - I don't quite understand the concept here, maybe you can give me an example :)
3. The bigger the network... - Based on my understanding, decentralize the network is all about break the huge network into small sub-network. I agree that the bigger the network, the less secure. So it's up to you to decide how big you want your network to be to maintain the security level.
4. Everything could be blocked in thoes contries - Yes, at least right now it seems like the case. And this concept and a lot of other concepts are trying to make blocking become more and more difficult. As I mentioned, in current Centralized Network hierarchy, power totally belongs to the side who controls the server, owns the data, which in most cases, this is the government/corporate side. And the one of the results is that they can easily block the access, cuz they "build the path". To decentralize the network is the process to take the control back to end users, we will own our server, our own data, which means we will have the option to "build the path" and "change the path" as needed. And the result will be harder and harder for the government to work with corporate to block the access.

Hope this will help you guys build your concepts. Cheers!

Lei

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

It is such an honor for the OpenIDEO Student Chapter @ NYU-POLY!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hi Lei!

Wow this is a huge breakthrough. From reading your concept, if every thing proves doable regarding technology development, you seem to stand at the top of the hierarchical solution to a lot of side problems we've discussed in concepts until now. This is proven by you connecting many concepts within your own one, including my Info Hub + A-L's Shift Van, and explaining the scenarios these would be in.

I'm very happy the Info Hub inspired you, and you picked up on the crucial and essencial use of the Hub - "There could be a possibility of then retrieving back into the Info Hub (via USB or Bluetooth, etc), all the documented material from the locals, anonymously." This would really solve the problem if local authorities seized the hub and accessed the data transmitted to it.

I also personally like this because I'm quite pro-protecting our data, like you mention, it's everyone's job. This applies especially for the Amnesty teams working on these issues, not just victims of human rights, so it really should be a movement that we provide globally.

Regarding the Diaspora development, have you and your colleagues gone far in solving the technical challenges involved in creating this decentralized network? How long till it could become reality? How much competition would this service face with companies such as Apple (iCloud), or do you imagine Diaspora being a service used more by private organizations such as NGO's or human rights organizations, needing strict data protection?

Congrats again :)

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Ana,

The Diaspora project is still in Beta version now. At current phase, the team is focusing on applying the decentralized network concept to the social network platform. My concept here is actually beyond their current scope. I believe more implementations is not that hard to achive in terms of technology shift, however, it will be much harder for people to change their mindset and using behavior. As you pointed out, this decentralized concept is against most of the current online products and services (like iCloud), which most of the people relies on in their daily life. So I think here is a great platform to showcase how to apply this technology and how it can really impact the society.

I've tried to reach out to the Diaspora team to find out if they are interested in getting involved in this challenge here. And I'm also planning to contact Professor Keith Ross from NYU-POLY CS department for more input regarding the feasibility of this decentralized network concept. I will keep you guys updated.

Lei

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hi Lei!

That's great, please keep us posted indeed, I look forward.
Keep up the great work!

Spam
Photo of Marsy Ramos

very interesting, nice job

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Thank you, Marsy.

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi Lei,
I love the idea that you're thinking about the infrastructure and some of the "security" issues that we've been discussing about several concepts. This is very much keeping in mind the reminder from the concepting tips regarding potential "risks" of technology. I could see many of the concepts suggested so far using the decentralized network you are suggesting.
I hope you can get in touch with the Diaspora team to see how to develop this idea.
I also like how you made your concept (and its value) clear through the scenario.
al

Spam
Photo of Vincent Cheng

Agreed with Anne-Laure, good job Lei in identifying how a decentralized (& hopefully cryptographically secure) system could help protect activists, freedom of expression, & information flow. Applicable to many of the social network/tech based concepts (such as Amnesty Observer App) & beyond (broader implications).

Spam
Photo of Vincent Cheng

Just providing another current example to illustrate where such a concept would help protect information flow.

Imagine if, in the United States, not only were the Occupy Wall Street protesters completely arrested/dispersed, but any talk about protests (even protests in another country) was censored online. This is what happens in China.

Currently, "Occupy" has become a banned word in China (after official Chinese news outlets first used it to illustrate the weaknesses of the US), due to the Occupy Wall Street protests that started in the US. For example, on Weibo (China's version of Twitter), you can't find "tweets" where "occupy" is followed by a place name, it's automatically removed. Similar bans were in affect about the Arab Spring. Often, the banning can be quite tricky: you could post something and from your account it'd appear like you had successfully "tweeted", but in reality, your "tweet" would be invisible to the public, and in trending topics/search results.

Chinese social media companies actually setup internal censorship departments to comply with the government. It'd be much harder to control a decentralized social network this way.

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Great example Vincent. It seems that Lei's idea of building upon a decentralized network like Diaspora could really have an impact.

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Thanks Vincent for sharing another great example.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

This seems like a very important subject, and I like how it increases the security of interacting with any online service. Having a "backup" of safety like this in any service or application would lower the threshold of participation for people who feel they are in danger of having their rights violated.

I see a possibility for building on this what comes to sharing the data - what if Bob gets taken away in any case, and the authorities confiscate his computer etc. As I understand, the data still remains in the network. Could there be a system to grant others access to one's files, either permanently or in case of emergency? Maybe Bob's network could use the data to track him down or continue his work.

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Hi Soila, I think it is totally possible to track Bob down or continue his work by using this decentralized network.
For example, Bob knows his work contains a lot of sensitive data, and since every computer in this network hierarchy can be treated as a server, Bob never put any data in his own computer/server, instead his work exists among 10 different servers (his friends' servers, family member's server, etc.). And all these 10 servers can be accessed if you are authorized. In this case, all the people who work with Bob or support Bob should be authorized. So even if Bob is in danger, people who has the access to his data can still continue on his work.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Nice job Lei. The scenario definitely illustrates the place for a solution like Diaspora. Quick question would Diaspora or some other entity, like Amnesty perhaps, then host a "node" to facilitate these kinds of communications?

(looking forward to more concepts from the Student Chapter!)

Spam
Photo of Lei Niu

Thank you Jason. Ideally, any entity (including individuls and organizatoins like Amnesty) should be able to host a "node". However, we don't want to see any specific node owns/controls too much data/information, since this is the oppsite of decentralize the network.