The father of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has proposed to redirect his little offspring so that “users have control of their data.” An adventure that he launches with his ‘startup’ Inrupt through the Solid platform.
Through this tool, Berners-Lee wants to force large organizations and governments to build applications that respect privacy and give citizens the power over their data. The one that gave rise to the web is now seeking to make a 180 turn to that model where the technology giants offer their services.
“As we have all discovered, this has not been the best for us,” Berners-Lee has repeated on more than one occasion in the past.
This open source platform and developed by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is underway since this week for governments and companies to give a total update to the web and control return to citizens. Solid will be “a fundamental change that will not only restore users’ confidence in their data, but will help them improve their lives,” Berners-Lee explains on his personal blog.
The idea of returning to a more just and decentralized internet has been in the head of the father of the web since 2018. “Every once in a while a large social network drops a large amount of private data,” he says.
“We have assumed in the past that we have to use these social networks because the world works that way, but that idea is being challenged on several fronts,” he points out.
This initiative, says Berners-Lee, “is not just about privacy, but about access.” The objective of the Solid platform is not to bring together all the data in one platform so that they are more accessible to companies, but rather that citizens are able to control them and see what access they have to them.
It is, according to its creators, a large warehouse distributed by personalized blocks baptized as pods. “The big difference with other similar web or mobile communication proposals is that it is the user who decides who can access this information and the owner of the application must ask the user for permission to view it,” they say.
Ahead of this week’s big launch, Solid has already been working in the shadows with companies and executives. The British BBC, the UK National Health Service and the Flemish Government in Belgium have already been Solid and Inrupt’s first testing grounds.