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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
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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: 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.

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  • (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.