It is time to introduce another charming lady – Simona Macellari, in her own words – a libertarian, Bitcoin maximalist and Cypherpunk enthusiast. She is currently Chief Operating Officer at BHB Network and at BlockchainLab GmbH. Simona has a rich background and various working experience. She holds a university degree in Law, majoring in Economic Law, from University of Perugia, and an MBA, majoring in Information Systems, from SDA Bocconi in Milan.
Simona was associated partner at The Innovation Group, Advisory boutique, Research Analyst at MEDAlics – Research Center for Mediterranean Relations, and adviser at THINK! The Innovation Knowledge Foundation. Before that, she served as EMEA Manager Research and Consulting at Financial Insights, an IDC company where she participated in the start-up and leaded the research and consulting activity for capital markets and insurance industries and co-leaded the banking industry one. Simona has a solid experience with high technology companies and financial services as project leader in many consulting engagements which have supported strategic customer decisions in the financial services sector. She has also worked as a strategic marketing consultant for several IT companies in Italy and as a soft commodities broker in London. Check out our conversation with Simona here:
Hello, Simona! Please introduce yourself shortly.
I’m Simona Macellari – microslicer / COO @ bhb.network and @blockchainlab, libertarian, bitcoin maximalist and cypherpunk believer. As skin in the game is a mantra, I’m a (un)blockchain adviser and I focus my work and efforts on censorship resistant, open source and trustless research and protocols.
Why did you decide to join the speaker’s lineup of LibertyBits conference?
As I share most of statement of LibertyBits manifesto, I wanted to contribute to the cause and give back to the community. Skin in the game, especially in Bulgaria, now my home country!
What is your understanding of “liberty” (freedom) and what are the most underestimated threats to our modern society?
Since I was a teenager, also thanks to a book that I had to read as summer school assignment (Animal Farm by George Orwell), I was really flashed by Napoleon’s statement “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” I had problems in accepting the concept of unearned authority and somehow recognized myself in the key concepts of libertarianism, i.e. spontaneous order, individualism and individual rights. Now, I feel very close to the agorism and my nirvana would be to live a society as portrayed by Edward Konkin III in his “Theory of the Agorist Class” where all relations between people are configured as voluntary exchanges giving life to a true free market. Reach a society that is finally free.
As for the underestimated threats to our modern society, once somebody said: ”Mice die in a mouse trap because they do not understand why cheese is free”. I see as the most underestimated threat whomever does not value privacy and gives away all his data, actions and I would say the entire life to FAANGs of this world. Have you ever read the book by Eggers “The Circle”? Sharing is caring with all the consequences painted by the author are already here. It is not the future. Edward Snowden whistle-blower, Sony hacks, Facebook case, etc. should make people think that broadcast whatever they want, whenever they want comes with a price. Geolocation to book Uber or order food delivery also means that several companies collect your personal data / Linkages and metadata make all your life an open book by which everybody could interfere whatever they like. Internet, once a tool of liberation and democratization, it is now – unfortunately – a tool of mass surveillance. The cheese is not free at all!
What would you say to everyone who thinks that keeping privacy is irrelevant for them because they have nothing to hide?
- Firstly, what is privacy? Is it about hiding? Not at all. For example, If I take the Merriam Webster dictionary definition, it is about “the quality or state of being apart from company or observation”/ “freedom from unauthorized intrusion”.
- Nevertheless, let’s assume for a moment that privacy is about hiding. Why is it relevant for those people whom do not have anything to “hide”? Because if we know that we could be watched / monitored, – panopticon – our behaviour and thinking change immediately to comply with societal orthodoxy. At the end of the day, humans are social animals and want to avoid “social stigma or social shame”. The outcome is quite scarring, we would think and act accordingly to the expectations that others have of us. Several academic psychological and social researches have been carried out on this field and came to the above mentioned conclusion.
- To those people, like Eric Schmidt, who stated that “If you’re doing something that you don’t want other people to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” I would also strongly suggest to read “1984” by Orwell, “The Panopticon Project” by Jeremy Bentham and “The Cypherpunk’s Manifesto” by Eric Hughes.
What is the easiest way to protect our privacy if we are not so tech-savvy people?
Difficult question to answer because it depends on the privacy vectorials attacks perimeter of each individual. For sure, the easiest way would be to always be airdropped/ offline and maniacally avoid that any of that data that connects your name and your physical residential address are in any databases. Hardly achievable in our interconnected and digital society. It might help to empower yourself by reading the basic of privacy on the Internet – here there are several YouTube videos / podcasts, for example the ones by Jameson Lopp – keep a low profile, avoid any free online services/products, a portable router 4g with operative system to connect with VPN and always use Tor circuit with anti-tracking system. Is it too techy?
What are your expectations from the conference?
Brainstorm with the audience and other speakers to raise awareness on how the quest for omniscience by states and big corporations have slowly stripped away our privacy as well as food for thought on actions and countermeasures applicable.
Thank you very much, Simona! Your background and interdisciplinary knowledge are really impressive! We are eager to hear your presentation at LibertyBits2019. If you don’t have a ticket yet, check out the ticket options below and find the best for you.
Take the chance and reserve your seat A.S.A.P. for the second edition of LibertyBits Conference here: