In recent years, there has been a major push by big corporations to remove the net neutrality standards that made the internet more open for everyone. But, there has also been some pushback by users and organizations alike to keep the internet how they think it should be: a platform that anyone can utilize to communicate with each other. Efforts to bring the internet back to its roots may have had a helpful kickstart thanks to the founder of the web itself, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee is best known as the man who invented the revolutionary tool that connects people around the world on a 24/7 basis: the world wide web and the internet. Being awarded almost 50 honors and awards, he is known for his advanced knowledge in the science of computer engineering. Now 63 years old, he is a professor teaching computer science at MIT and Oxford University.
His concern about the internet’s privacy has led him to begin a new project. Inrupt, his latest creation, is a company whose mission is to decentralize the web so that it won’t get in the hands of much larger companies that could make the web “shift from its original promise”. The startup discusses it’s desire to make the web into an open-source tool where you have “unprecedented control” over your data and identity. They are doing this by trying to make data work together through a universal platform that they are calling Solid. The platform allows users to share their data through their “PODs,” or personal online data stores.
The company will eventually offer up a means of getting your own POD for use with websites that run on Inrupt’s Solid code. This code allows the website to run decentralized apps, called APIs, that properly utilize the user’s data in a secure manner. Users can even create their own Solid apps, giving them even more control over their internet experience. Due to Solid and Inrupt still being a new platform and company, the information that has been revealed is limited, but this definitely looks like it has some potential. At the moment, most of those using Solid’s platform and applications are developers who are still working on the code, but the company states that it will become available to regular users soon.
If Inrupt and Solid end up being successful, it could be a rude awakening to the deeper meaning of the internet itself. People would have more control over their data and, as a result, companies will have a harder time trying to make money by selling data to third parties. It’ll be interesting to see how larger companies will react to this if Solid continues to gain momentum, and what it will really do to the future of the world wide web. If this platform takes off, it could change how we send and receive personal data online forever.
by Jason Grioua