Driving Business Innovation with FOSS: AI, Blockchain, and Cloud Technologies Leading the Charge

April 09, 2024 3 min read
Driving Business Innovation with FOSS: AI, Blockchain, and Cloud Technologies Leading the Charge

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting on a panel with some of the current great thought leaders in the FOSS world! I'm not at all sure how I managed to end up on the stage, but it was a great experience and it was fun to share my perspectives from a privacy and security point of view on the future of some of the most interesting tech that we see today!

The main session itself can be seen here from the recorded Youtube stream:

How does FOSS help ExpressVPN?

One of the questions that everyone in the panel got to answer was how have we benefited from FOSS in our own projects. For me that meant talking primarily about Lightway but it's really important to point out that ExpressVPN itself is effectively built entirely on FOSS.

When I talk about Lightway, I always talk about the four pillars that created it, but here we have a special twist on it with how it relates to FOSS:

  • Inspired by Wireguard - Wireguard was the first next generation VPN and showed the world how fast and impressive a modern VPN can be. It inspired us to create Lightway. Of course, Wireguard is FOSS

  • Grounded in OpenVPN - OpenVPN was the first protocol ExpressVPN supported, and like most other VPN providers continues to support. It has a legacy of 20 years of service, and again, is true FOSS.

  • Secured by WolfSSL - All of the cryptography that powers Lightway comes from wolfSSL which is itself FOSS. The latest hybrid Post Quantum protection comes from the Open Quantum Safe project, which is FOSS too

  • Engineered by ExpressVPN - thanks to the power of FOSS, we were able to craft Lightway to deliver exactly what we needed to best support our customers. Yes, it's opinionated, and yes it focuses on what we need, but as FOSS it's open for anyone to adapt, change and improve.

The Future of AI and privacy

AI is the current exciting trend and for good reason - but like everything else it will come in a cycle. Right now we're near the peak but sooner or later something else exciting will come along. That doesn't take away from the power of AI, and we have already benefited hugely from the technology, and it's only going to get better.

One of the key challenges though is how to operate and expand a technology that depends on mining detailed information whilst trying to control how much detailed information it gets. If we don't feed the model, it won't be as powerful, but if we do feed it, we might end up with critical pieces of private information entering the public domain, which we don't want either.

Hopefully we will find a way to do more fine grained permissioning so that it's possible to both share conversations that add value, but hold back on certain pieces of key information that we don't want to give away. How exactly we would do that though is still unclear. After all, it's not so much the technology that has the issue, but how it interacts with people and what people do with it that's more of a challenge.

What else did we cover?

Quite a few things, but this post is already getting quite long, so if you want to know more, just click the Youtube link above and enjoy the discussion ☺️

Peter Membrey
Written By Peter Membrey

Peter Membrey is a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Chartered IT Professional and a Chartered Engineer. He has a doctorate in engineering and a masters degree in IT specialising in Information Security. He's co-authored over a dozen books and a number of research papers on a variety of topics. These days he is focusing his efforts on creating a more private Internet, raising awareness of STEM and helping people to reach their potential in the field.

Read next