Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Web, is preparing a new project

At the Reuters Next conference, which has been running since Sunday, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web (Web), reconsidered the intentions that led him to set up the startup Inrupt in 2018.

And is that now wants to develop technology that empowers people, in particular, a “pod” of personal data, which the user will control himself and can give access to whoever he wants.

When Tim Berners-Lee, then a computer scientist at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), created the Web 30 years ago, designed it around simple yet powerful standards for locating, linking, and presenting multimedia documents online.

Subsequently, others took advantage of its creation and became billionaires thanks to Internet companies, including Google, Facebook and social networks in general, Amazon and Apple. For his part, Berners-Lee has become the guardian of technical standards designed to help the Web flourish as an egalitarian tool for connecting and sharing information.

But today, Berners-Lee, of 65 years think the online world has gone astray And he's been making it known for the past few years that internet giants like Facebook and Google, which he calls "silos," have become data hungry, always with the goal of accumulating more data and power.

Driven by vast amounts of data, they have become monitoring platforms and gatekeepers of innovation. Regulators in the United States and elsewhere they are thinking the same way and They have started to adopt increasingly strict data protection rules.

This is the case in Europe with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into effect in January 2020, which aims to protect online data from Californians.

But according to Berners-Lee, these simple rules are not enough, we have to go further if we really want to protect people's privacy. So with a new startup called Inrupt, Berners-Lee aims to address some of the problems that have crippled the web.

Based on ideas developed for a project free software called Solid, Inrupt promises a Web where people can use single sign-on for any service and where personal data is stored in pods or stores. personal data online, subject to user control. According to Inrupt, Solid is a technology for organizing data, applications and identities on the web. Solid helps provide richer options for individuals, organizations, and application developers by leveraging existing web standards.

"People are tired of the lack of control, the silos," said Berners-Lee, Interrupt's co-founder and chief technology officer, in an interview with the Reuters Next conference. "This new updated website will allow the kind of person-to-person sharing and collaboration that has helped the success of major social networking services, while keeping the user in control," said Berners-Lee.

Pods, or online stores of personal data, they are a key technical ingredient for Berners-Lee to achieve his goal.

The idea is that each person can control their own data, visited websites, credit card purchases, workouts, music streaming, in an individual data vault, usually a server space. Companies can access an individual's data, with their permission, through a secure link for a specific task, such as processing a loan application or offering personalized advertising.

They could link to personal information and use it selectively, but not store it. The view of the former CERN computer scientist on the sovereignty of personal data stands in stark contrast to the collection and storage model of large technology companies. However, it does have some echoes of the original web formula, a set of technology standards that developers can use to write programs and that entrepreneurs and companies can use to build businesses.

Source: https://inrupt.com


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