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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: 2) by Appalbarry on Wednesday October 12 2016, @11:12PM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Wednesday October 12 2016, @11:12PM (#413686) Journal

    There's no argument that the 'net as we know it is far, far from what we envisioned a couple of decades ago. Sadly the commercial interests have succeeded in turning it into a swamp of dreck and avarice.

    Then again, it can be argued that this was the first try at creating an "Internet," and it should have been expected that it would fall flat on its face.

    Who could have seriously expected that what was devised in the late part of the last century would be able to scale to the size we see now?

    Right now we're trying to solve 2016 problems using 1980s based technology, which was based on 1960s assumptions.

    At this point the question really needs to be this: Is it possible or sensible to try and build something new and better on top of the existing Internet? Or is better to find a way to start over from scratch and build it the way it should have been done?

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  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday October 13 2016, @07:35AM

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 13 2016, @07:35AM (#413798) Journal

    I fear that any new attempt to build a more modern internet will be doomed from the start. There are too many commercial and intelligence-collection opportunities on the existing internet to make the very suggestion of an alternative unattractive to big business or government, unless of course they can tailor it to their needs rather than ours. There are already existing secure distributed networks out there - but the public is unlikely to be given access to them.

    So we are left with trying to achieve a distributed or decentralized system with the internet that we have. While this is a big challenge, I'm sure that bittorrent, Freenet et al didn't have any significant government or business support when they were first being developed - it is only once they are up and running that others come along to try to exploit them.

    The main problem with the secure technologies that I have mentioned is that they are on the slow side, and for a site that depends on a multipath conversation I suspect that they would be of little use to us. Another problem would be that all users of our decentralized system would need to be able to see all comments on a particular story, so every comment would have to propagate through the system quite quickly to enable a sensible discourse to take place. A conversation between two people is already possible and easy to secure - any more than that begins to become increasingly problematic


    I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.