Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Boston, MA, United States (4E) – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web, plans to take the internet away from money-grubbing corporations and return its control to its most valuable public – its users. He’s building the new internet.
The iconic British engineer said work is advancing fast on a project that will yield the “next era of the Web.” Berners-Lee and the nerds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been developing “Solid,” an acronym for “Social Linked Data.”
He explained that Solid aims to drastically change the way Web applications work. It will result in true data ownership, and vastly improved privacy. It’s basically a web decentralization project.
The development of Solid is being guided by the principle of “personal empowerment through data.” Berners-Lee believes personal empowerment through data is critical to the success of the next era of the web, which Solid will bring about.
In Berners-Lee’s own words, Solid will give every person complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way. It’s an open-source project that aims to restore power and agency on the web to individuals while removing it from corporations.
“I’ve always believed the web is for everyone,” said Berners-Lee. “That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.”
On the technical side, Solid is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols.
Solid will realize these aims by developing a platform for linked data applications that are completely decentralized and fully under users’ control, rather than controlled by other sources such as tech or internet corporations.
Solid is being built using the existing web. It gives users a choice over where data is stored. It also enables a user to choose the people or groups that can access certain elements of his data. Solid allows users to link and share data with anyone they select. It permits users to look at the same data in different apps at the same time.
“Solid unleashes incredible opportunities for creativity, problem-solving and commerce. It will empower individuals, developers and businesses with entirely new ways to conceive, build and find innovative, trusted and beneficial applications and services. I see multiple market possibilities, including Solid apps and Solid data storage,” said Berners-Lee.
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