Land Minds: spreading internet freedom and privacy 1

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Jan 27 2016

Location: 

Global

In the past few years we have seen a growing awareness and concern with Internet freedom and privacy, fuelled by Edward Snowden’s revelations of the vast U.S. government’s surveillance programs, by Wikileaks’ publications, by protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), protests by the hacktivist group Anonymous, the movement for net neutrality, and much more. This sparked the creation of many organizations and projects that seek to give Internet users more security, like the free and open-source operating system Linux, the free and encrypted browser Tor, the free and open-source Firefox browser, and some free social networks that claim to reject selling user data like Diaspora, Tsu and Ello.

Launched in 2015, Minds.com is the first free, open-source and encrypted social network equipped with user-friendly design, blogs, channels, groups, video and text chats, and more. Minds also has a digital currency of points that users earn for every vote, comment, upload and share, which can be exchanged for views on their content either with Minds or directly with other users in exchange for content shares. Committed to transparency and user empowerment, the code and policies are available for public comment at Minds.org, and the creators are constantly in contact with users that report bugs and suggest improvements. Today Minds.com has over one million users and great presence in news media outlets like Forbes, Wired, Huffington Post, Vice, BBC, Business Insider, HackerNews, Bitcoin News, Anon Union, Shareable, We Are Change, etc.

"If more people-powered platforms rise up and are competitive feature-wise (which we aren't quite yet still being in beta) then there would be no reason not to migrate to the more open and ethical platform." - Bill Ottman, CEO and co-founder of Minds.

Minds users have often used art to engage with the brand and to express their admiration and support. To mention a couple recent examples, Corey has made an animation using Descartes image and an adaptation of his classic quote saying "I think therefore I am on Minds", and Saquedon has made a few illustrations representing Minds' importance to internet privacy and freedom.

"It's interesting that you do see people making Facebook art and putting their logo everywhere with their @tag, but it has nothing to do with actually supporting Facebook. It has to do with the planetary desire to connect with other people." - Bill Ottman, CEO and co-founder of Minds.

In november of 2015, engaged and passionate users of the social network (especially Anonymity & WastydTalland) started an artistic activism project called Land Minds. They made illustrations, printed them as stickers with QR codes linking to Minds.com, and started to put them around their cities and encourage other users to do the same. This is a non-paid, organic activist initiative that aims to spread awareness about the social network and about the social and political issues it tackles, which is the lack of internet privacy and the pervasive government and corporate surveillance. This initiative caught the attention and support from the creators of Minds, and with this support the activists set up a Land Minds channel and started a contest, asking people to post photos of the placement of the stickers and the three photos with the most votes will get prizes like a t-shirt with an illustration (made without financial support from Minds) and Minds currency points (provided by Minds). This was organized through groups and channels, file sharing, stickers, uploading and ranking photos of sticker locations, and the contest. The goal is to spread internet freedom and privacy.

"People on the internet want the right to privacy, anonymity, voting, freedom of information, communication, etc.. When a site or app provides those tools, people respond enthusiastically because very few major networks are doing it. They would prefer to sell data and keep information secret for the illusion of a competitive edge. The self-organization of the Minds network kind of proves the benefit of competitive collaboration. People are creating inspiring Minds themed art and spreading it in both physical and digital realms to drive people to the community. It's stunning! We have a long history of creating legal street art and can't wait to work with the people of Minds more to spread the word on web freedom." - Bill Ottman, CEO and co-founder of Minds.

Posted by paulasantarosa on

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