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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 12 2016, @01:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-run-your-OWN-facebook-at-home dept.

The original purpose of the web and internet, if you recall, was to build a common neutral network which everyone can participate in equally for the betterment of humanity. Fortunately, there is an emerging movement to bring the web back to this vision and it even involves some of the key figures from the birth of the web. It's called the Decentralised Web or Web 3.0, and it describes an emerging trend to build services on the internet which do not depend on any single "central" organisation to function.

So what happened to the initial dream of the web? Much of the altruism faded during the first dot-com bubble, as people realised that an easy way to create value on top of this neutral fabric was to build centralised services which gather, trap and monetise information.

[...] There are three fundamental areas that the Decentralised Web necessarily champions: privacy, data portability and security.

Privacy: Decentralisation forces an increased focus on data privacy. Data is distributed across the network and end-to-end encryption technologies are critical for ensuring that only authorized users can read and write. Access to the data itself is entirely controlled algorithmically by the network as opposed to more centralized networks where typically the owner of that network has full access to data, facilitating customer profiling and ad targeting.
Data Portability: In a decentralized environment, users own their data and choose with whom they share this data. Moreover they retain control of it when they leave a given service provider (assuming the service even has the concept of service providers). This is important. If I want to move from General Motors to BMW today, why should I not be able to take my driving records with me? The same applies to chat platform history or health records.
Security: Finally, we live in a world of increased security threats. In a centralized environment, the bigger the silo, the bigger the honeypot is to attract bad actors. Decentralized environments are safer by their general nature against being hacked, infiltrated, acquired, bankrupted or otherwise compromised as they have been built to exist under public scrutiny from the outset.

In the Web 3.0 I want a markup tag that delivers a nasty shock to cyber-spies...


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @05:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @05:06PM (#413535)

    How is SN a decentralized site? Open and noncommercial, sure. Decentralized? I don't think so.

  • (Score: 2) by mechanicjay on Wednesday October 12 2016, @05:51PM

    by mechanicjay (7) <{mechanicjay} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday October 12 2016, @05:51PM (#413562) Homepage Journal

    Fair Enough. All our nodes are running in the same datacenter. We could decentralize a bit by moving redundant nodes to different geographic areas. Makes note to discuss this with people I realize though, that this type of decentralization isn't quite what the article is talking about, but is important for resiliency and redundancy.

    --
    My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:05PM (#413567)

      I would love to see SN roll out a test of one of the truly distributed systems, where users can play host to the data. I'll have to do a little research to find the examples already being made (and sadly they're mostly JS based) but it seems like something this site would be perfect for. The only sticky problem I can see is user authentication and info storage... even with a good crypto scheme I don't think too many people would be happy having their account details sent to every other user.

      • (Score: 2) by fleg on Thursday October 13 2016, @05:52AM

        by fleg (128) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 13 2016, @05:52AM (#413781)

        >user authentication

        to start with maybe you could just use it for AC's?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:03PM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:03PM (#413566) Homepage Journal

    We've looked at providing a bi-directional gateway to USENET in the past but I never got it finished due to technical hangups and the fact that NNTP/Usenet is a miserable protocol for anything that can be dynamic since you have manage cancels and such.

    If someone wants to take the existing code and make it work, I'll be glad to feed it into USENET.

    --
    Still always moving
  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:09PM

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:09PM (#413569) Journal

    It is not decentralized, that is true. But as much as TFS points out the need for people to retain control of their own data, we do go a fair way to achieving this. We allow comments from Anon Cowards, and we do not keep connection data in a way that can be linked back to the originator - it is hashed so that ACs can be deconflicted - but we cannot give IP data to anyone who demands it. We simply haven't got it, as far as I know. And, again as far as I know, we do keep connection data from anyone attacking the site (spam or DDos for example) but only so that we can block that IP for our own protection.

    I'm not the person to say how easy it would be to make SN decentralized - not an area that I have any knowledge or expertise in - but if anyone knows any software that might be useful it could be worth a submission and discussion. But I'm fairly certain that we don't have the capacity to go it alone with such a concept with our current situation.

    If you compare SN to the more famous social media sites we do protect personal data, we do not sell or otherwise use that data, and we don't cooperate with anyone trying to track our users. We meet our legal obligations but don't have much information to give to anyone. But, on the other hand, we are unlikely to be floated on the stock exchange in the foreseeable future either...

    --
    I am not interested in who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12 2016, @06:46PM (#413579)

      That is all fine and good, but users rely on the integrity of the admins. It would be nice if the features were baked into code. It is a huge project, but one I would be willing to invest time in. The biggest problem I see with decentralization is that it becomes much harder to filter spam bots, and user data is an issue. Strong crypto would be good, but doesn't quite replace the single protected location of a server.