To keep the internet free and open 5

Solid is the technically potent open-source platform built to decentralize the web. Inrupt is the company that’s helping to fuel Solid’s success.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and its subsidiary YouTube are virtual monopolies – and they discriminate against conservative users.

Will someone come to the aid of conservatives?

Yes!  The greatest of all the technological innovators is riding his computer to the rescue: the true knight, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

We quote from a report by Katrina Brooker at Fast Company, a website that specializes in discussion of technological innovation:

Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me [and other reporters] to come and see a project he has been working on … He leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.

“The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. … But he is not joking.

This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. … 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 … “It’s an 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.

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

[He shows us how] on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod … 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. …

Berners-Lee believes Solid will resonate with the global community of developers, hackers, and internet activists who bristle over corporate and government control of the web. …

Developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site. Berners-Lee will spend this fall crisscrossing the globe, giving tutorials and presentations to developers about Solid and Inrupt. (There will be a Solid tutorial at our Fast Company Innovation Festival on October 23.)

“What’s great about having a startup versus a research group is things get done,” he says. …

It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight.

When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “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.”

Game on.

 

(Hat-tip to liz)

Posted under Technology by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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