Tim Berners-Lee: his radical new plan to upend Big Tech monopolies

FastCompany-

Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself.

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.

The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp.

The difference here is that, 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.

more

ht/ fdr in hell

16 Comments on Tim Berners-Lee: his radical new plan to upend Big Tech monopolies

  1. This is satire for cheesy fake news. “the inventor of the web” is “looking for venture capital”
    “It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight”

    I guess his business motto is “do no evil”

    3
  2. This is satire for cheesy fake news. “the inventor of the web” is “looking for venture capital”
    “It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight”

    I guess his business motto is “do no evil”

  3. Care to start a pool on how long before the first Solid “POD” is hacked?

    The key letter there is “O” for “online”.

    4
  4. I would gladly contribute to this. Maybe it’s a pipe dream but it’s sorely needed and worth risking a few bucks.

    9
  5. Rooting for him all the way. It’s needed, it doable, and Berners-Lee is the guy to lead the way.
    Is anything 100% hack proof? No. But the chances of breaching a personal data storage pod are far less than that of centralized storage such as google/FB. Layers of security is your personal responsibility, not theirs.
    Hackers are much more invested in hacking large centrally stored databases.

    10
  6. If it looks like it will even remotely work, then the big corporations will have him killed faster than Hillary kills her enemies.

    7
  7. Sigh….. Tim…. just discovered marty balin didn’t help run a circus. Further, he’s not Steve Perry.

    Easy mistake to make I suppose…. still…. now I’m more confused than ever.

    My new theory is that Marty Balin is one of the voice actors from Scooby Doo.

    5
  8. The current monopolies offer spiffy and extremely useful tools that manipulate your personal data. They don’t ask for money, so people think they’re getting neat stuff “for free.”

    But of course, they’re not. The monopolies market the personal data of millions of people to make billions of dollars.

    The new “Solid” service lets people retain complete and total control of their own personal data. Cool.

    But where will the spiffy and extremely useful services come from? That’s the conundrum. Google et. al. get tons of personal data because the user (1) thinks he’s getting really good services, and (2) it’s all free!

    That’s a tough market plan to overcome. And boy, do I ever hope Tim and his partners succeed in overcoming it. (Because it’s evil.)

    9
  9. Tim is as big a liar as Al Gore.
    By the time he started college -Queens 1973 -the “Internet ” was already active in the west! Physics students at “UC. UCLA, SJS , and a college in Utah were talking to one another over what we call the “internet”.

    I was on CIS in ’80 – many years before he was involved with TCP/IO.

    I will bet that he , like Al, is a Bush/obama NWO leftist. he clearly lies

    1
  10. Hosting on your own server? That’s so!… old school. Pre-, post-, current… internet… school. But wait!… someone else will package the software for you. For “free”! Oh…? Like one, three, how many? “generic” x86/x64 packages that are free (not “free”)? No! They’ll also pick the hardware for you! And you get to pay them! Uh… Like I could pay any “geek”? Local shop, “big box”, my grandkid? No! They’ve got a famous head! Not figurehead. Not spokesmodel. Actual shareholder! Like Apple? Before Jobs croaked? That’s!… awesome?

    I know. I know. Sometimes the reason one product makes zillionaires, years after the same product bankrupted just as many, is timing, timing, … oh, and marketeers help. So, good luck with that.

    Hey! Before I go… This has squat! to do with “the internet”! What makes “the internet” “the internet” is the “inter”-ing of the “net”. How? Oh, how? Does this even “net”? Oh! Maybe it will let all your stuff “talk” to your other stuff…? While you’re at home. Like dozens (literally) of hardware plus software products you can grab? Off the shelf? Right now. At just about any shop with a shelf marked “ELECTRONICS”. No? It might, might, let all your stuff “talk” to your other stuff. When you can find “free” Wi-Fi. Like at Starbucks. (yeesh) Like many hardware plus software products you can grab? Off the shelf? Right now. At just about… well… you get the idea. So… good luck with that.

    1

Comments are closed.