Technical Aspects of the NeuroBlock Platform: A Look Through the User and Their Privacy

Dario Sansano Larrea

NeuroBlock Users Dashboard Beta 1.0

Since we decided to found NeuroBlock seven months ago on a July night, we have managed to develop key aspects of the platform while always focusing on the privacy of our future users, to whom we are committed, and who are the reason for being for NeuroBlock.

I would like to take this article to analyze some key aspects of how our platform operates, and to outline some of the achievements we have developed in recent months in the context of our journey through the Scientific Park of Miguel Hernández University, in the 13th Edition of the Startup Creation Marathon.

A few months ago, when Carlos Micó (Co-Founder and Marketing Director) and I were discussing how we could anonymously collect the data we generate while browsing the Internet in a way that’s integrated into the user experience, the idea of doing so through a Google Chrome browser extension came up; a somewhat crazy idea but one that, without thinking too much about it, we set out to develop. Today, the browser extension that collects users’ navigation data is our main tool, and it is this that I would like to focus on especially in this article.

In very brief terms, so as not to overwhelm the readers, it is a software programmed in JavaScript that, in the background, collects –as we have defined for our minimum viable product– information that allows us to generate navigation metrics that may be relevant for companies and institutions of various kinds, in order to conduct market studies based on people’s behavior on the Internet.

This extension collects basic but extremely valuable information: visited web pages, time of visit, time spent on them, approximate geolocation – we do not triangulate people’s exact location – and searched keywords; data to which many others will be added in the future as we can guarantee that our users’ privacy is always respected.

The operation of the extension is simple but effective. The user connects using a public cryptographic key through the Metamask digital wallet via API. Then, the data is sent to their user profile created on our platform with the public key of that same wallet (through a signing process with the private key that authenticates it). In this way, the entire process of registration on our platform and data collection is done anonymously, ensuring that the identity of the people is always respected.

In this video, it is shown how the extension connects to Metamask to obtain the cryptographic key with which the user has registered on our platform, and begins to collect browsing data:

As can be seen, the extension captures the public key of the user’s wallet. Then the user clicks the start button, and data collection begins.

This data, as we have said, is sent to the NeuroBlock platform, where the user has previously registered using the same method. With the commitment to guarantee the privacy of users who collect their browsing data, the registration and login process do not require names, surnames, emails, or passwords.

Below is a video of access to the platform and how data selling would be executed. As can be seen, with a couple of clicks, our users will be able to access the platform completely anonymously and securely.

Once inside, they can manage their data and perform tasks such as viewing the amount of data collected, viewing the collected files, deleting them, or, if applicable, selling them in exchange for rewards in the form of our NBK Token cryptocurrency, receiving it directly in the Metamask virtual wallet of the user used for access and registration.

In this entire process, the user has been able to collect their browsing data completely anonymously, manage it, and sell it in exchange for a fair and anonymous reward.

Another important aspect to consider is user privacy regarding the collected data. It would be pointless to collect data anonymously if it contained sensitive personal information. As mentioned above, the data collected only concerns generic data that allows us to profile the interests of Internet users. Our interest is focused on generating abstract metrics, so we do not collect information that directly or indirectly can identify the user who generates it.

And to ensure this, we use filtering algorithms that sweep any sensitive information that may be present in the links collected from web pages, no matter how insignificant (name, alias, user of a certain social network profile, etc). In this way, we not only collect valuable data free of sensitive information, but any data that indirectly may point to the person is completely eliminated.

Finally, it should be noted that all this data is not sold directly to interested companies and institutions. The data is used to generate statistics and metrics, training Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models, so that companies and institutions will only have access to our elaborated statistical tools and market studies.

For example, they will be able to study what type of social networks consumers of a certain product usually visit and at what time they access it in order to carry out advertising campaigns for such product on that social network, but they will not have access to the collected data to perform such analysis.


Darío Sansano Larrea

CEO and Co-founder of NeuroBlock.