Tim Berners-Lee Says The Web Must Be A Force for Good Again

The Web must be a good place again
Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Photo: Reuters)

Declaring the World Wide Web he invented 30 years ago is no longer a "force for good," Sir Tim Berners-Lee affirmed his vision to steer the web back on its original course by championing 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 his new invention called "Solid" will bring about. "Solid," an acronym for "Social Linked Data, is a project that will create the "next era of the Web," said Berners-Lee.  

It's always been Berners-Lee's intention the web be a force for good. Berners-Lee made this declaration on March 12, the day 30 years ago when he first made a proposal for an information management system that has since become the World Wide Web.

He implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet in November 1989, hence his fame as the "Father of the World Wide Web."

Berners-Lee now wants the world to abide by a "contract for the web" that will restore the web as a force for good.

"The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time," said Berners-Lee, who also said Solid will be the tool that restores goodness to the web.

"Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value," he explained. "As we've all discovered, this hasn't been in our best interests."

Rather than have all of your online data concentrated in the hands of a few massive firms like Facebook and Google, Solid will effectively decentralize the way data is shared over the internet.

As he explained, Solid will function like "a mash-up of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp."

Data generated on or imported to Solid, however, will be stored in the user's secure personal online data (POD) locker, rather than being stored on servers of Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. With Solid, users will be able to entrust their most sensitive information (such as medical or financial records) to their apps, knowing that the data won't be misused.

"It (Solid) gives every user a choice about where data is stored, which specific people and groups can access select elements, and which apps you use," said Berners-Lee. "It allows you, your family and colleagues, to link and shares data with anyone. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time."

To accelerate adoption of Solid, Berners-Lee on March 12 announced the launch of "Inrupt," his first commercial venture leveraging Solid.

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 consumer-centric data protection scheme.

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