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posted by martyb on Sunday September 30 2018, @11:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the make-the-web-a-web-again dept.

Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web

This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it's game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.

"We have to do it now," he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. "It's a historical moment." Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people's data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.

If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

[...] [On] Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.

How does Solid compare to Tor, I2P, Freenet, IPFS, Diaspora, etc.?

Related: Tim Berners-Lee Proposes an Online Magna Carta
Berners-Lee: World Wide Web is Spy Net
Tim Berners-Lee Just Gave us an Opening to Stop DRM in Web Standards
Sir Tim Berners-Lee Talks about the Web Again
Tim Berners-Lee Approved Web DRM, but W3C Member Organizations Have Two Weeks to Appeal
70+ Internet Luminaries Ring the Alarm on EU Copyright Filtering Proposal
One Year Since the W3C Sold Out the Web with EME


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Monday October 01 2018, @12:18AM (15 children)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday October 01 2018, @12:18AM (#742180)

    I had a quick look at this Pod thing, and as far as I can make out it's just cloud storage.

    I already run my own NextCloud server, so I don't see the point in having another online storage account.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RandomFactor on Monday October 01 2018, @12:26AM (4 children)

      by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @12:26AM (#742185) Journal

      There has to be something more to it.

      Face/Twit/Gmail could care less about you sticking a copy of your data in some POD as long as they still have it also. If they ever do care, just require access to it to use their service.

      --
      В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
      • (Score: 1) by NateMich on Monday October 01 2018, @01:18AM (3 children)

        by NateMich (6662) on Monday October 01 2018, @01:18AM (#742195)

        There has to be something more to it.

        Face/Twit/Gmail could care less about you sticking a copy of your data in some POD as long as they still have it also. If they ever do care, just require access to it to use their service.

        I have a couple of thoughts about this, first of course is that it is a bit late for this idea, sort of like what you are saying.

        The other, is that even if you stored all of your own information somewhere (and online businesses magically couldn't collect info on you anymore), they could simply demand it in order to offer you services. And people are dumb, and they would hand it over, possibly forcing you to do likewise once you find that you must also use such services due to their momentum.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:06AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:06AM (#742221)

          It's not solving privacy issues outright. It's solving the goddamn issue of being locked into an dwindling number of behemoth quasi-monopolies. Even if you don't like Facebook, you can't leave it, because that's where all your data are! All your love letters and photos and memes and "friends".

          The idea is to unlock your data, allowing you to migrate it and manipulate it as you see fit. If you want to run a super secret and encrypted private "Facebook" with your fellow neckbeards, then go ahead; migrate your data to that service. Most people probably won't.

          The whole point is to create a foundation for market competition again. Right now, there's no consumer choice, and thus stagnation and (worse) censorship. The goal is to DECENTRALIZE the web, and if some better privacy comes out of that, then great, but it's not the underlying purpose.

          Centralization is just an efficiency in a decentralized system. When a centralization goes bad, there needs to be away to abandon it, and go about the business of creating good centralizations again.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @04:31PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @04:31PM (#742345)

            Can leave it? I have never had a Facebook account. What's your point?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02 2018, @01:08AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02 2018, @01:08AM (#742574)

              /r/iamverysmart

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by tibman on Monday October 01 2018, @01:15AM (6 children)

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @01:15AM (#742194)

      It's a lot more structured than that. You have a pod, but so do all your friends. An "app" (just javascript really) can talk with all the pods and create a group chat with photos (or whatever you want). Then you change your name in your pod and it will also change what all your friends see because your pod data is what drives the app data. Pull your pod access and you'd completely cease to exist to the app and your friends. Functionally, it's identical to something like facebook. The difference is where the data is and how it is controlled. You aren't logging into someone else's site and requesting them to change your name.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by coolgopher on Monday October 01 2018, @02:27AM (4 children)

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @02:27AM (#742208)

        Uh-huh, and what's stopping FB et al from adding support for "link/import pod" whereby they copy (potentially continuously so) the data from your pod? If you nuke your pod, they'd still have all the data...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:50AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:50AM (#742213)

          Nothing as far as I know. Yet they still would not have all the interactions unlike currently.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:55AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:55AM (#742215)

          That's the point. You're not tied to using Facebook's "app".

          It's like having an open document format; you don't have to use Microsoft Word anymore; you can use any editor or service that uses the open document format.

          • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday October 01 2018, @07:19AM (1 child)

            by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @07:19AM (#742258)

            When everyone else is still using Word and shipping files in its broken version of the "open document format", you're still locked to #&!~@# Word.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Monday October 01 2018, @09:42AM

              by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @09:42AM (#742270)

              > everyone else is still using Word

              An alternative model is "email", where some use gmail and others use hotmail and others use . A few even grow their own.

              Which model will win? Well no one ever won a war without fighting a battle, and right now it looks like we need a better way...

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday October 01 2018, @12:52PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Monday October 01 2018, @12:52PM (#742295) Homepage Journal

        I really want to get excited about this but it sounds like it won't be too useful for people like us that already avoid F***book and similar. If you make data in your pod available to other people, there's still nothing to stop corporations making copies of that data. It allows text and images, so that means it can deliver advertisements as well. It would be good if it makes an equivalent of cross domain requests and tracking impossible to engineer, although with effort we can already block those things with browser add ons, with mixed success.

        --
        Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bobthecimmerian on Monday October 01 2018, @11:24AM (2 children)

      by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Monday October 01 2018, @11:24AM (#742282)

      I prefer Sandstorm.io (also fully open source) to NextCloud and run my own server for that. However, I think Sandstorm, NextCloud, and Solid pods are not a worthwhile solution for the general public. My wife isn't going to run one. My brothers aren't going to run one. The only thing they would do is pay some other company to run it for them. Or maybe, just maybe, have some big company host it for them without any direct fees in return for having integrated advertising and data collection embedded in the product.

      Sound familiar? Even if Solid is an open standard, I think it will lend itself to the same centralization we have today.

      Instead, I think people looking at a decentralized web will get the biggest privacy benefit for the average person by focusing on tools that don't require any kind of traditional server. Something like Bittorrent for social networks, really. I think Secure Scuttlebutt ( https://www.scuttlebutt.nz/ [scuttlebutt.nz] ) and Keybase.io ( https://keybase.io/ [keybase.io] ) are a start. I'm hopeful the dat project with Beaker browser and tools like Fritter could be even better ( https://beakerbrowser.com/ [beakerbrowser.com] and https://github.com/beakerbrowser/fritter [github.com] ). When your own device is the server, there's no space for Google/Microsoft/Facebook/whatever to muscle in.

      Reliable backups are a headache, though, and I don't have an answer for that. I mean, I have my own automated backups in place. But if the average person sets up their own distributed peer for some service on their own device, and then their phone dies and they lose all of their data, they will go running right back to Facebook. So backups of some kind need to be part of the solution.

      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday October 01 2018, @08:04PM (1 child)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday October 01 2018, @08:04PM (#742446)

        See? This is why I browse this site.

        There I was, being more or less happy with Nextcloud, installed on Turnkey Linux, which is easy and then I get a reply like this.

        Now I have to look at sandstorm.io, which might be awesome. Thanks Mr. Cimmerian.

  • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Monday October 01 2018, @12:19AM (2 children)

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @12:19AM (#742181) Journal

    I wonder just how embrace-and-extend-able Solid really is. Hopefully it was built from the ground up to resist sophisticated intentional high tech undermining of its core goals by large well heeled players.

    --
    В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @07:21AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @07:21AM (#742260)

      Doesn't look too bad actually [github.com]...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @10:45AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @10:45AM (#742276)

        People keep copying these files around. What's the point?

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @12:27AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @12:27AM (#742186)

    What, no mod will approve ari's sub [soylentnews.org] trying to link Libertarians to the alt-right?

    It shouldn’t be hard to see why this nonsense has acted as a sort of rocket fuel for the Alt-Right. Some people can only be told how privileged and awful they are for so long before deciding to identify with a collective themselves that wants to grow the state for their own benefit. But the Alt Right is clearly a reaction to the Left’s madness. [mises.org] Discrediting the former should diminish if not eliminate the latter.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:26AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:26AM (#742198)

      This 'rant' about that submission is sort of offtopic. But it does relate to it

      acebook had allowed people's data to be misused by political operatives
      When the democrats did it. It was hailed as a new way to connect with the people. When the Republicans did the exact same thing. It was considered 'misused'. The 'alt-right' does not exist. It is a label used to dismiss peoples opinions. Just as 'fake news' is used to dismiss things people do not want to hear. This 'new political' climate is one not created by businesses, banks, think tanks or news organizations. It was created by 4chan. They are having a blast fucking it all up. The more serious people get about it the more they fuck with you. The more ludicrous you act. The more they fuck with you. The more you 'resist'. The more they fuck with you. They are trolling you. All you can do is ignore them and *maybe* just *maybe* they will get bored and leave you alone. But no they will just wait for you to slip up. Then fuck with you some more.

      Pods sound nothing more than a 'problem' that companies can *easily* work around. "Do you wish to use our service give us your access key to this information" or "please type this information in to use our stuff". Tada worked around it with one prompt and a few SQL calls to their DB. Boom, I no longer control my data. I am sure there are a thousand other ways around it. Do you seriously think some 12 year old girl who wants to send some picture to her BFF would not type all that shit in? In a heartbeat. They will not even think twice about it. They will have no idea what they are doing is 'wrong'.

      To fix this issue will require legal teeth at this point. It will probably be called Title III. Basically the same thing Title I did. The phone companies were overcharging by destination and playing 'its private property' game the current ISPs and data providers are playing with Title II. They are both heading headlong into a world of 'do not touch it, do not look at it, do not double charge people, treat everyone equal'. Mark my words. It will not happen this year. But in the next couple it will. Both groups have basically managed to piss off the DNC and RNC at the same time for different reasons. Even *then* it will still be a long slog to get this back under control. This is 25+ years of information cataloged and correlated. It already exists in a thousand DBs around the world. Some companies take it seriously because they are legally required to. Others do not give a fuck. Because they do not have to. Then on top of this. The 'big boys' will be the only ones who could possibly compete anyway. Small fry will basically be dead in this environment.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:57AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:57AM (#742218)

        It's solving lock-in. People are locked into Facebook, because that's where all the data are.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02 2018, @12:31AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02 2018, @12:31AM (#742560)

          It does not solve that. Even the stated reason is in the summary.

          Why does it not solve it? Because the 'platform' is what people go for. The connections to the cool stuff and people. The walled gardens are where those people currently reside. Pulling the data out does nothing to fix that. Because they will still have the data anyway.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @08:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @08:09AM (#742264)

        Any label exists to control people. They don't even mean anything.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:06AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:06AM (#742190)

    Timmy boy must have lost it for real.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:46AM (#742212)

      He is sold to DRM and cr*p.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:17AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:17AM (#742249)

      Honestly the second thing I thought skimming over that glossy copytext about his great new startup.

      The first thing that came to mind was "hey, that actually sounds awesome! A new internet, built without all the surveillance capitalists and censors!" But then I read "sponsored by Mastercard". Meh.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday October 01 2018, @06:25AM (2 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday October 01 2018, @06:25AM (#742252) Journal

        I smell Blocc chain.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:59AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:59AM (#742255)

          I paid his company's website [inrupt.com] a visit. It indeed smells like synergetic Blockchain quantum AI. But most of all, I don't get the guy's motivation. He built an open standard that thrived because it was simple and self-explanatory. What he's got today looks like a walled garden, Facebook-style "but open" minimization of the web into interpersonal social bullshit.

          "[A] place where entrepreneurial developers can innovate and generate revenue

          Oh, ok then. It's also LinkedIn and Github. I dunno, the idea seems a bit too complex to explain in a sentence. Antithesis of "let's link up information so people can jump between resources and find whatever they're looking for or didn't even yet know".

          If it weren't a node.js hipster web app complete with matching moon rock sales pitch I'd at least want to find out whether this idea is any good. I'll pass.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Monday October 01 2018, @10:09AM

            by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @10:09AM (#742274)

            > Oh, ok then. It's also LinkedIn and Github.

            github and linked in are polar opposited; linkedin is based on a closed proprietary API whereas github is based on an open API (git). That's the whole point! so gitlab exists for example, and you can decide to host on gitlab instead if github gets bought out by M$.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:11AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @01:11AM (#742192)

    facebook, et al, exist because most people are mentally taxed just going to a website and screwing around. if this solid thing is only slight harder, it's a non-starter.

    • (Score: 2) by bobthecimmerian on Monday October 01 2018, @11:41AM (2 children)

      by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Monday October 01 2018, @11:41AM (#742285)

      While I agree with your general idea, that's a needlessly rude way to put it. I pay other people to do maintenance on my car, cook better meals than I can make, fix problems with my septic system, and provide medical care for me and my family. None of them can host their own web server, but I can't do their jobs either.

      • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Tuesday October 02 2018, @03:19AM (1 child)

        by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday October 02 2018, @03:19AM (#742624) Homepage

        The thing is, you're going going to get all of your friends to hire sysadmins to host web servers for them so they can run not-Facebook.

        --
        Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
        • (Score: 2) by bobthecimmerian on Tuesday October 02 2018, @06:59PM

          by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Tuesday October 02 2018, @06:59PM (#743003)

          No, I'm not even going to try. It would never work. As I posted elsewhere in the thread, I think realistic replacements to centralized services that actually respect user privacy and prevent censorship: 1.) cannot use centralized hosting of any kind and 2.) must be as easy to install and use as an application on an Android phone or iPhone. Anything else will leave 99% of the population where they are today, relying on centralized providers.

          Our hope for the future, if one exists at all, is in tools like Beaker browser and the Fritter project, Secure Scuttlebutt, Keybase.io, and so forth. I don't think they are good enough today for the average person, I don't recommend them to people outside the tech industry. But they're inching in that direction, and I think they are the only way we're going to break the centralized stranglehold on the internet.

          There are also some possibilities in the distributed computing networks as in the SafeNetwork project.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by dltaylor on Monday October 01 2018, @01:11AM

    by dltaylor (4693) on Monday October 01 2018, @01:11AM (#742193)

    If he's able to truly make this work, I'll forgive him for ruing the Internet by creating the web in the first place.

    We had a really useful internet, "way back when" (data, streaming, ...), then the "web" came around and it's been all downslope since. Now everything is stuffed into the browser, including the vast majority of the security problems.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by tibman on Monday October 01 2018, @01:18AM (2 children)

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @01:18AM (#742196)

    Ut oh! It looks like 100% javascript. Practically cooties to soylentils : P

    https://github.com/solid/node-solid-server [github.com]

    --
    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by DECbot on Monday October 01 2018, @06:20AM

      by DECbot (832) on Monday October 01 2018, @06:20AM (#742251) Journal

      It sounds like an interesting idea. I plan to wait around for somebody like TMB to write a perl port. Once the scripting language isn't running in my browser, It's probably mature enough to be considered a worthwhile project and maybe even catching on.

      --
      cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PiMuNu on Monday October 01 2018, @09:45AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @09:45AM (#742271)

      Presumably it defines an API which can be written in $PROGRAMMING_LANGUAGE

      Javascript is a good language to target initially because it catches most web developers. It can be ported to something else later.

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday October 01 2018, @02:00AM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @02:00AM (#742201) Journal

    If it is a company and could be bought for big bucks if successful, what keeps Facebook from buying it and destroying it?

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:08AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:08AM (#742222)

      Their company will probably just provide an implementation of the protocol and consultation on how to integrate it.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Monday October 01 2018, @03:43AM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday October 01 2018, @03:43AM (#742230) Journal

        Moreover, "Solid" came before the company Inrupt. It's a project run by Tim Berners-Lee based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And from the summary:

        Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

        Although if Tim can't convince people to jump on his bandwagon, and he quits or is bought out or murdered by Zucc, maybe the thing will just die (only to be replaced by someone else's take on decentralization).

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1, Troll) by crafoo on Monday October 01 2018, @02:33AM (2 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Monday October 01 2018, @02:33AM (#742209)

    This has all the markers of an insular group of academic "visionaries" having nice dinners, drinking, and smelling their own farts every night.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @07:14AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @07:14AM (#742257)

      Part of Web 1.0's allure was iits population of academics and scientists. These guys actually had content to offer and they were happy to talk about their stuff. Much unlike most authors of what today gets passed for information worth even hyperlinking...

      I dunno, if he manages to bring that back, the whole free information, free choice of associatio, free speech, free from surveillance thing... it might be good. But so far all I'm reading are marketing blurbs that not even the dirty startup hipster from the café could have worded much sleazier...

      • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday October 01 2018, @07:20AM

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @07:20AM (#742259)

        Keep in mind that he was the one who advocated for DRM inclusion in the W3C...

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Monday October 01 2018, @03:25AM (5 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday October 01 2018, @03:25AM (#742226)

    Or decentralize and conquer? Europe seems to have their data protection done right, but would you like to try your own hand at preventing the US government from forcing you to hand your POD over to them?

    If Google wants to make a few more bucks off my personal data, they can have it. Comparing it to the government building the institutions to collect and store it, preventing me from being able to see what they've collected, and then taxing the populace for the privilege of running those programs and storing the data into perpetuity, what's the better option here?

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:40AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:40AM (#742229)

      If Google wants to make a few more bucks off my personal data, they can have it. Comparing it to the government building the institutions to collect and store it, preventing me from being able to see what they've collected, and then taxing the populace for the privilege of running those programs and storing the data into perpetuity, what's the better option here?

      That attitude is exactly the problem. Why do you think they are mutually exclusive? In fact they're amalgamated and the former enables the latter. It's not by accident CIA made google. Just look it up if that sounds fantastical to you...

      • (Score: 2) by bobthecimmerian on Monday October 01 2018, @11:45AM

        by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Monday October 01 2018, @11:45AM (#742287)

        I don't believe the CIA 'made' Google. But I'm sure they're joined at the hip now.

        I agree with your point, though. Any form of centralized service will be an easy target for government overreach. A government could go after every NextCloud and Sandstorm and Wordpress and freedombox server hosted in their country, but it would take a lot of effort. Compare that to showing up at Google, Facebook, or Microsoft with a national security letter and a court order for them to keep it quiet.

    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday October 01 2018, @07:39PM (2 children)

      by edIII (791) on Monday October 01 2018, @07:39PM (#742434)

      ...but would you like to try your own hand at preventing the US government from forcing you to hand your POD over to them?

      Abso-Fucking-Lutely.

      That's the whole point of Zero Knowledge services and Deniable Encryption. *IF*, and that's kinda a big IF, they figure out how to perform computations on encrypted data, that will further complicate the game because I can outsource large processing jobs without compromising business data. I can't remember the paper, but there was research being performed on this. Until that occurs, I can safely outsource my long term data storage to anywhere that allows me to store encrypted blocks of data. SpiderOak, among others, does exactly that.

      I haven't looked into the PODS, but if the government were forced to come to me, it would bring back Due Process. That's highly likely, because without a court order and a warrant, I'm not even forced to let police/government into my house. If they try some Soviet Red Badge shit, aka National Security Letters, I can still tell them to go to hell. Regardless, they will need to seize running equipment and perform side-channel attacks to gain my encryption keys.

      It's not just me, but everyone else. Which means that were a sufficiently large population using PODS correctly, mass surveillance capabilities would be greatly compromised. Especially, because I assume it comes with End-to-End encryption for communications? What can the government perform mass surveillance on again?

      I like the idea of running my own POD, and that the only way of seeing my data, is to either compromise me directly, or compromise one of my friends or family to see what they see. I don't think any of this rules out the idea of a Deniable POD. One passphrase opens up a Honey POD which shows them what I want to be seen as, and the other passphrase opens up the real POD with real data. If it were granular and in layers like Matryoshka dolls, you could give the government the the low-security data not worth anything.

      TL;DR; Fuck Yes. I will actually fight for me. Google executives making bank will not give a fuck about me in the face of government agents holding guns and National Security Letters.

      what's the better option here?

      A decentralized Darknet with end-to-end encryption, and encrypted containers geographically distributed according to need (like Freenet), with a network foundation that allows for truly anonymous connections to the Darknet.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Monday October 01 2018, @09:01PM (1 child)

        by krishnoid (1156) on Monday October 01 2018, @09:01PM (#742477)

        I haven't looked into the PODS, but if the government were forced to come to me, it would bring back Due Process. That's highly likely, because without a court order and a warrant, I'm not even forced to let police/government into my house. If they try some Soviet Red Badge shit, aka National Security Letters, I can still tell them to go to hell. Regardless, they will need to seize running equipment and perform side-channel attacks to gain my encryption keys.

        Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'll just leave this here [xkcd.com] for now.

        • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday October 02 2018, @12:39AM

          by edIII (791) on Tuesday October 02 2018, @12:39AM (#742565)

          Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. I've seen and heard about the $5 cryptanalysis wrench :)

          Even so, the government will have to use it on me. Really, the point of deniable encryption is that they can't actually prove you didn't hand over the keys.

          If this government did resort to torture and violence on Americans, it would cause a revolution.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday October 01 2018, @03:31PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday October 01 2018, @03:31PM (#742324) Journal

    Is this some sort of decentralized social network, or just a repository for personal data? (Or an "other" where Because the latter solves *nothing*. One only gets so far hosting your own data when the real vulnerability comes when it is shared. And there then *shall* be a way for those whom you share it with to profit by further sharing on back to that same Book which makes its money by selling various Faces profiles. If you're not explicitly required to share stuff to get the candy - want Buzzfeed updates straight to your POD? Just share your X in return and you get that! - then your friends will be bribed with added functionality for their PODs by turning over what they know about you.

    The problem will *always* come in at the moment you want interactivity with the wider world. As it always has been. Because this is a human problem, not a technical problem.

    --
    Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Monday October 01 2018, @03:42PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday October 01 2018, @03:42PM (#742329) Homepage

    Could've picked a better name than something that sounds like it needs up-the-bum surgery to fix.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @03:56PM (#742334)

    I wonder what exact problem this thing may fix. Probably Sir's lack of control over a piece of Internet cake.
    Internet is no more a medium of information exchange it was until late 1990s, in the peak of personal sites, forums, blogs, lists - now it's like a companies phonebook or the advertisement newspaper freely available in every staircase in some estates. And DRM in it just fits as a natural consequence, like steering wheel is better than reins when horse has been replaced by the engine.
    So imagine someone makes a new Internet and... what next?
    It will again achieve the same state of corporate and political advertisement media, this time much faster. The success of the Internet was that it was possible to connect many people from different fields and was going because there was a creative and problem-solving power all time. So, artists will have no time, hobbyists will stay DDoSed with "social media", entrepreneurs will try to get as much money as possible before running from their sinking ships. There will not be artists which would make space for discussion and creation. There will be no hobbyists which would make information exchange in many types of media and on many topics. And entrepreneurs will sell it anyway to political or corporate trolls as all social media, so they may pretend that it's OK.
    Because problem is not the Internet, problem is in the people who are in it.

    So, after a few more "new Internets", we will just get used to it.

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