Proof of life, resurrecting technology.
Subject tweet can be found here.
Only use amateur radio if you have your license, if you do not have a license then get your license via this process.
A little backstory
I want to first start this off by saying that this is a depiction of events that led up to doing an off grid transaction and showing Proof of Life. I will not include all details, because, I do not have to. I am protecting the privacy of those involved and as you will learn this was all within the scope and the use case for the existence of the technology in use here. This all fell in place during and after the Litecoin Summit on Friday.
I want to take a moment and thank the team that did provide me the radio to prove a transaction would even be possible. I will refrain disclosing who they are as to not violate their privacy or invite unwanted attention. If they so choose to want to be identified in this article, please contact me via Burstcoin messages or send a transaction with a message with your contact details to the following Burstcoin wallet. This was not a world’s first of anything other than from a node that did not require any power. That was a first, but other data packets have and are sent over radio quite often. The activity mentioned was performed by licensed operators.
I enjoy a good challenge, especially one that years after some of the early data tinkering on amateur. So when given a radio for such a project, I had to push it. Licensed operators are the only people should be performing these tasks. So what does this mean exactly, you can transmit data over airways. However, there are some legalities of what the data can be, the intent, and a few other things you should keep in mind when attempting to do anything similar to this.
One of the biggest issues is the idea that anything cryptocurrency related is now immediately related to the use of financial systems or transactions. I recently posted an article outlining the use cases outside of coins, and that is where we are with this. In this little experiment we leveraged the use of a transaction to transmit something far more important than a coin.
Most of us take for granted living in an environment of freedom and peace among those things that we take for granted is communication technology. We often overlook how easy it is to use (insert some service here). Though, that is an issue, those applications and services do disclose very damaging information that could be used against us in our times of vulnerability. This is a scary concept, but let’s think a little on this.
How do you send a message or how do you confirm someone is alive in a war time scenario? What if under guise of oppressive government regime, any and all transmission of data we take for granted could cost someone their life, disclose their safe place they are, or worse disclose others that may be with them. This is of huge risk to sender and receiver as well. We do not consider this often times and forget how lucky we are. So how do you solve this problem?
Use existing tools.
Tools were already existent and had been demonstrated for a long time that you can transmit a packet of data over amateur radio. However, it is often overlooked but it is a resource that should not be overlooked when working with communications technology. Now, do not go just spamming data on the radio frequencies, understand what you are doing before doing it. There is already an infrastructure in place and is typically used for disaster recovery, emergency response, and deployment in cases. This is a big step forward.
Though in these environments of disaster, whether man made or natural, we have a tendency to worry about all the other pieces like property and the like we will often overlook life. This is where the next steps are of the utmost critical and possibly world changing for some families. Living in uncertainty of whether a loved one is alive or not is something no one should have to live through.
From experience comes change.
Having lived through Hurricane Katrina, I have some solid understanding of lack of resources. This is where being part of the Call For Code challenge, inspired me to remember the various things we did to survive. I also thought about some of the problems that existed then, as no wide spread data usage and the smartphone was not exactly a thing. So what does that give us? A better understanding of what may or may not be available.
So now in comes how to verify someone in such a condition, but there is a way to do so that starts a conversation of how it should be done right. The following is a crash course of what is the start of a Proof of Life that we are adding to the Call For Code challenge submission.
Proof of life.
Using cryptography we can do this with verifying a key ownership, by making a transaction to a target address, with an amount + fee pre-determined. This allows for a system for you and your family to agree upon prior to said event. With Burstcoin you can also use messages as well, this also was tried, I fucked up on my testing so just went transaction model. This gives us immutable proof that the person is alive. If they aren’t they had to have disclosed several parts in a multi factor authentication. Some of which would never even be visible unless someone was tipped off.
How do we tie all of this together? Using the radio transmission someone could safely broadcast that they are alive to a family member that is relayed and immutable. This is important. Granted the items needed are items most will not have, but they can obtain. Each of the items used can easily be found at most general electronic stores and or online. Using an app may not be an option, but verifiable proof of life may be just want some families need in order to have a peace of mind someone is still alive.
All of this was a culmination of taking the tools and using them correctly. That is the key takeaway from this, but the other is that this is a way to notify a loved one you are still alive in an operationally more secure model in a war time and or adversarial situation. This was a one off experiment that worked surprisingly well, and it generated a wee bit of backlash and a lot of support.
Just as described in above scenarios it is important to remember, the internet can be a dangerous place. You should keep your disclosures of personal information at a threshold that you feel comfortable. Understand you do not have to ever answer to anyone. The internet is not your judge or jury to anything going on in your life. If you choose to disclose something, you do so by choice, not by force. This is where there is power in the Proof of Life, bypassing a traditional channel to send a message loud and clear, you are here, alive.
This article is uploaded using a censorship proof model. Your voice is important, understand how to use the tools to make it heard and to retain its message.