Thursday, 13 December, 2018


Web Founder Charts a Solid Future for the Internet

Melba Vasquez | 03 October, 2018, 20:43

"But for all the good we've achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas". This was before Facebook's relationship with Cambridge Analytica had surfaced and our collective dismay with the state of data privacy made the headlines and found its way to Capitol Hill. The changes we've managed to bring have created a better and more connected world.

He believes Solid will also simplify how enterprises and governments handle personal information, since there will be a single authoritative source of data about each individual, rather than separate siloed records that each have to be independently updated.

"Together, Solid and Inrupt will provide new experiences benefitting every web user - and that are impossible on the web today", Berners-Lee wrote.

Solid is a framework where you store all of your private data in a "pod".

Sir Tim is taking a sabbatical from MIT and is planning to seek venture funding for the project in the autumn.

He replied: "We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight". "We are not asking their permission".

That's a far cry from the current state of affairs in which we are trading our digital behaviors for the use of numerous applications that make money off of advertisers who use this data to influence our buying decisions.

Solid works, Berners-Lee and colleagues from MIT and beyond explain, on a decentralised model: Users sign up to a Solid POD, a storage device which can be a physical unit within the user's home or office or a virtual device provided by any one of a number of POD provision companies. Inrupt will lay the infrastructure that will allow Solid to thrive.

"I've always believed the web is for everyone".

This is not the first initiative to attempt to wrest control of web data and give it back to individuals.

A plan led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to give people more control of their data online may prove to be an impossible task, experts have warned.

People could have more than one pod for different purposes or types of data, he said. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod-which is an acronym for personal online data store.

"He's a semi-divinity in the history of the internet", Gilder said of Berners-Lee.

People want apps that help them do what they want and need to do - without spying on them.

For one thing, Berners-Lee is working on a "way to create a decentralized version of Alexa, Amazon's increasingly ubiquitous digital assistant", Brooker continues.

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