Father Of World Wide Web Launches Platform Which Aims To Radically Decentralize The Internet

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Headline News | 10 comments

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    This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

    “For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair last month. “I was devastated” he said while going through a litany of harmful and dangerous developments of the past three decades of the web.

    That’s why “the Father of the World Wide Web” has launched a start-up that intends to end the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, while in the process letting individuals take back control of their own data.

    Berners-Lee’s new online platform and company Inrupt is being described as a “personal online data store,” or pod, where everything from messages, music, contacts or other personal data will be stored in one place overseen by the user instead of an array of platforms and apps run by corporations seeking to profit off personal information. The project seeks “personal empowerment through data” and aims to “take back” the web, according to company statements.

    The man who created the world wide web by implementing the first ever successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet in 1989 lamented that his creation has been abused by powerful entities for everything mass surveillance to fake news to psychological manipulation to corporations commodifying individuals’ information.

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Image via Wikimedia Commons

    But he’s long been at work on a new project to take the web back, described in depth by the business technology magazine Fast Company:

    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.

    “We have to do it now,” Berners-Lee said of the newly launched project. “It’s a historical moment.” He identified the main impetus behind his recent announcement that he’ll be going on sabbatical from his research professor post at MIT to work full-time on the project as the recent revelation that Facebook allowed political operatives to gain access to some 50 million users’ private data.

    At MIT Berners-Lee has for years led a team on designing and building a decentralized web platform called ‘Solid’ — which will underlie the Inrupt platform. The Inrupt venture will serve as users’ first access to the new Solid decentralized web:

    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.

    “I have been imagining this for a very long time,” says Berners-Lee.

    As described on the Solid and Inrupt websites the new platform will allow users to have complete control over their information ‘pods’ (an acronym for “personal online data store”) — it is only they who will decide whether outside apps and sites will be granted access to it, and to what extent.

    Unlike Facebook or Twitter where all user information ultimately resides in centralized data centers and servers under control of the companies, applications on Inrupt will compete for users based on the services they can offer, and only the users can grant these apps “views” into their data, making personal data instantly portable between similar applications.

    “The main enhancement is that the web becomes a collaborative read-write space, passing control from owners of a server, to the users of that system. The Solid specification provides this functionality,” the Solid website says.

    Visual of the Inrupt prototype platform

    Berners-Lee explained to Fast Company one example currently under development that could radically changed a popular product that has been prone to overstepping privacy boundaries and compromising data:

    For example, one idea Berners-Lee is currently working on is a way to create a decentralized version of Alexa, Amazon’s increasingly ubiquitous digital assistant. He calls it Charlie. Unlike with Alexa, on Charlie people would own all their data. That means they could trust Charlie with, for example, health records, children’s school events, or financial records. That is the kind of machine Berners-Lee hopes will spring up all over Solid to flip the power dynamics of the web from corporation to individuals.

    With the weekend launch of Inrupt, developers across the globe this week will be invited to begin building their own decentralized apps through the Inrupt site. As its popularity grows the company will move forward to raise more funds, though it’s currently backed by a venture capital firm.

    Yet as his latest interview notes, “his plans could impact billion-dollar business models that profit off of control over data. It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight.”

    When this major potential disruptor was noted, Berners-Lee shot back: “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.”


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      1. I saw this article on The Daily Sheeple yesterday. I hope it’s true. If we can get Microsoft, Google, and all the social media scum out of our lives it could certainly solve some problems Also keep government out of it. I wish this man the very best but I’m afraid he may already have a target painted on his back.

        • right, blame the container for what users choose to put in it.

      2. Digital format has been severely misused ->
        omg omg ->
        Put your most valuable secrets on this new, online platform.

        • Right. BTW, anyone ever watch the series “Person of interest “? It’s on Netflix. Pay attention, watch and learn. I’ve watched it several times. As far as the net stuff goes, I’ve been around all that since way back. Pretty much the beginning. You know, when you code.Things have really changed. Most, not really for good. Seems like everytime a person invents something for the good, it winds up turning bad.
          But, watch the series, it’s… Entertaining. Some things happened way before that time.It’s also from Canada. The series. Not all of TV is realistic, but some is. Kind of like when a person pops a guy in a car. They never hold their ears and never lose their hearing. Wow.
          BTW, what has helped to the posts on some of the articles? Seems like a lot disappeared. Hmm. Strange.

          • I have commented on several articles, but I have only saw my comment on this one. Looks like you are deleting several comments on other stories. I don’t care.
            Delete my comment here also. I’m not going to bother commenting anymore.
            Seems only a handful are allowed to hear themselves talking constantly almost everyday.
            I’ll keep what I know and my opinions to myself and the same people can keep rattling off about anything.

            It’s like talking to a brick wall on here.
            Maybe I’m just not into the right “click” of the usuals.
            Carry on and delete my previous post on this story like you have the others.
            Enjoy yourself.

          • Delete my comments please.

          • Mr. MTS
            It is called “Shadow Banning.”
            You see your comment you posted. But No one else does.
            The powers that be, Can Not/ Will Not, allow real time communication or cognitive open discussion.

            * Ever noticed how front porches are no longer on new built homes?
            * Notice how in many cities alley parking to your garage in new built homes?
            * Notice how people now have backyard fences now?
            * Notice the “me too” a pass made to a woman is now considered rape?

            * Notice the tech companies banning anyone with a conservative slant?
            * Notice the YouTube bans on conservative content?
            * Notice the scewered “most popular” results on YouTube and Google search manipulation?

            Remember when you was a kid, how if you acted poorly at a friends house that thier Mom or Dad would correct your poor behaivor, or maybe even paddle you. Other parents and adults would correct your poor behaivor and usually call your parents.

            No More. ALL of that is Gone.
            You are being Isolated. You are being Silenced. You are being trained NOT to interact with other human beings. You are being trained to believe whatever the Nonsense of the day is, as per the scripts. You are being coralled into your screens. No human interaction.

            After all if people started talking, thinking, interacting, and a village was raising children. Instead of the permissive NWO Anti American COMMUNIST teachers in Public education.
            Well….people might start thinking.
            Can’t have that.

            Also reason states legalising the DANGEROUS Gateway drug marjiuana. Politicians want stoned people to Tax, Extort, Steal from, and Lie to. Because stoners care about ONE thing only, “getting stoned”. Stoned and isolated people are easy to control and corral. Children with no moral charachter or self control are easy to manipulate.

            How about this web site doing stories on these topics?

            Or are pushing marijuana stocks of the prior articles it’s new purpose? BTW: You sicken me with the article. The Phillipine’s leader has the right idea about how to deal with dirtbags that profit from peoples weakness.

            Let’s see if this comment is shadow banned. Can you see this comment?

      3. “the world wide web” and “the internet” are two dramatically different things. Being the “father of the www” is basically a nod to having invented hypertext markup language while at CERN.
        “the internet” is a vast interconnected network invented by DARPA. the www runs -on- the internet, like an app runs on your computer. Lee did a good job at making a markup language, but thats far and away from where things are now.

        besides, the problem here is people and human nature, not the technology used.

      4. I’m not buying any of this potential to stop the government and intelligence treasonists from knowing every detail of internet users content and quickly acting accordingly. Freedom of speech as the dire enemy of the existing power structure will be hyper maximized, that much is clear. This is underway right now.

      5. The best way to not have your personal data stolen online is to not put it there in the first place.

        I also notice the article does not say this is free like Wastebook. There must be an income stream from this somehow. It will be interesting to watch.

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