25 October 2019

Over the past two decades, being able to shop and sell online has changed the way many people around the world live their lives. Popular marketplace platforms like Ebay, Amazon and Alibaba became popular as a result of making it easier and more convenient over time for buyers and sellers alike to participate in ecommerce.

However, there is a downside to this.

Services like these bring us convenience at great cost to our privacy.

If you have been thinking about selling goods and services online or changing the way you shop to preserve more of your online privacy, here are some things to consider.

Why is privacy important?

First, it’s important to understand what we mean when we say “privacy.”

We define privacy as:

“A person’s ability to control the information they share about themselves and with whom.”

Privacy as a general principle is important because it protects our ability to explore ideas and be in control of what we share about ourselves with others. What we share with others can vary widely from talking with a close friend to posting on social media to consulting with a lawyer or a therapist. Understanding and trusting the context of each scenario we encounter is crucial for each of us to navigate our lives well since a breach of that trust can have significant consequences.

Ideas we have or would like to explore are almost certainly controversial to someone in our family, friend groups or society and without the ability to move through them freely we limit our possibilities to grow as individuals and as a collective. Controlling the information we share helps us structure our lives and limits the potential for outside entities to influence or manipulate our decisions.

Why is private shopping important?

When we look specifically at how we buy and sell things online today a number of troubling things are going on. The marketplaces we use routinely are all run by centralized entities that monitor and collect all of the data we generate when using their platforms.

Risks to buyers

The risks to buyers are numerous. These companies know everything from your real identity and your payment information to your entire purchase history and every link you click. These things in aggregate give them an alarming amount of information about every individual who uses their platform that they can use to manipulate your activities and maximize their bottom line.

  • Do you know about dark patterns and how they are designed to manipulate your behavior?
  • What about how our data can help retailers predict important and private things like if someone is pregnant?
  • Stepping adjacent to retail in the credit industry, what about how penalties can result for you because of data other people have generated?

In the future, activities happening within these systems may also be subject to much larger aspects of access and control in places like China where your behavior may significantly impact your future purchasing opportunities and even your civil rights.

Risks to sellers

Risks to sellers can be even worse than for buyers. For sellers, they may earn their living selling on platforms like these and search algorithm changes, promoting their products before yours or copying popular products can impact or stop their income at any time.

A new way to shop and sell

The Haven app presents a whole new paradigm for ecommerce: private shopping. It’s built on the decentralized OpenBazaar network which means that there is no centralized entity—like Amazon, Ebay or Alibaba—who owns it. This is possible because, instead of using centrally owned and operated servers to run the network and host all data generated by it, the OpenBazaar network is made up of individual people who host data on their own devices and connect directly to each other.

This means that users have direct control over their store and profile and they don’t need to worry about anyone taking it away or collecting their data to manipulate their behavior or interfere with their income stream.

Haven lets us take a huge step away from the way we have gotten used to using the internet—which has literally cost us our identities.

Would you like to take your privacy back online?

Get started today by downloading Haven below for iOS and Android!

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