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June 23 2023

Grass 102: Q&A on Privacy and Security

Grass 102: Q&A on Privacy and Security

The Grass beta is live! We’ve been thrilled with the response to our initial launch and want to thank everyone for downloading the extension and giving feedback. A lot of people asked for more details about how Grass works, so we’re writing a post to answer some of your questions.

As it turns out, we have good news: running a Grass node is 100 percent safe, secure, and private. Sounds too good to be true, right?

We get it, it’s hard to believe you can get rewarded for anything these days without sacrificing something you don’t want to give up. But participating in Grass is not about selling your data, but helping the network access public data on the public internet.

Let’s re-examine some of the finer points and answer some of the questions about how this could be true.

Will installing Grass allow anyone to view my data or internet usage?

This one is easy: No, it won’t. While you may be used to companies exploiting your personal data from using social media over the years, we’re happy to report that this is not how Grass works.

So how does it work, then?

When you sign up for the internet, ISPs sell you a plan with a certain amount of bandwidth. For the average internet connection, this ends up being about 100 Mbps — in other words, your maximum download speed at any given moment is 100 megabytes per second.

But what happens during the times you’re just reading the news? You might be using only 5 or 10 Mbps of your allotted bandwidth, but you’re paying for the whole thing. So what happens to the other 90 Mbps of bandwidth that you aren’t using?

As we covered in Grass 101, AI data is typically gathered by scraping the public web. When you run a Grass node, a small fraction of those 90 Mbps of unused bandwidth are actually used to scrape this content.

When this happens, the network is not using your computer or viewing anything that you’re doing on it. All it's doing is routing internet traffic through your IP address, which is completely separate from your activity. That means zero access to your personal data.

To reiterate, this privacy and security applies at every level. Neither the app nor the network can see what’s going on in Chrome or any other app. They have no ability to view other extensions or their pop ups (including Metamask.) And they definitely cannot see the data you enter live while using your internet connection, like passwords or personal information.

Think of it like renting out a parking space in front of your house. Someone may pay to park there, but just because they’re out front doesn’t mean they can see anything that goes on inside the house. That’s how Grass works, only instead of renting out a parking space to another driver, you’re renting extra internet to the network. They have no way of seeing what’s going on in the house, and your activity remains totally safe and private.

Can my connection be used for anything illegal?

No. Overwhelmingly, the network is used by Wynd Labs, the parent company who started Grass. Wynd Labs exclusively scrapes data for AI purposes, and has no incentive to do otherwise.

At times, other AI labs may use the network to scrape data themselves. In these situations, all parties go through a careful vetting process by Wynd that requires them to sign a detailed service agreement to use the network.

One stipulation in this agreement is that Wynd can view all of their activity. Anything that is ever accessed with your unused bandwidth will be visible to Grass, and clients will be immediately banned for activity that’s deemed sketchy.

Another stipulation of this agreement is that these labs assume liability for anything they do while using the resources they purchase on Grass. This means that no matter what, their activity is their own responsibility and there is no way anything could happen to you as a result of using the app. The bottom line is, you don’t have to worry about anyone doing anything illegal - ever.

Will Grass slow my internet connection down?

No. Grass only uses small amounts of your unused internet bandwidth. This means that the app will always take a backseat to your own internet usage . If there is no unused bandwidth available — if you’re using all of it yourself, in other words — the app simply goes dormant. You will never even notice it's there.

. . . . .

As we can see from the answers to these questions, participating in Grass is an easy way to benefit from the growth of AI without sacrificing your privacy, safety, or the quality of your internet connection.

If this sounds like a good deal to you, it’s because it is! So join our Discord to sign up as one of Grass’s early adopters, and be sure to let us know if you have any more questions. Participation is safe, legal, and private, so the more you understand, the better your experience will be. Reach out and touch Grass!

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