Tim Berners-Lee gave us the gift of the Internet without patents, copyrights, or trademarks. Unlike the giant tech companies we know today, Tim Berners-Lee provided global value to society without putting his own self-interest first. Now this genius wants to revolutionize his creation with “Solid” and the team at MIT’s lab.
Solid stands for “social linked data” and somewhat represents the block chain system we see being used for crypto currency. The end users would store their personal information in personal online data stores, or “pods,” and access to this information would only be aloud by applications that have the authority to do so.
How is this different from today’s system? Right now your personal information is being centralized and stored by all the big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and any other service where you have an account. These companies make a phenomenal amount of money off of that data. They analyze it for internal project developments, rent it out to ad buyers, and sell it to third parties who just want to know a bit more about their customers. In other words, it’s impossible to keep your personal data personal anymore.
What’s worse is in the current system, hackers can gain access to one database and get the personal data on thousands or millions of people. Under the proposed layout of Solid, that data would be decentralized and (hopefully) personally owned. You could keep your banking information in one pod, your contacts in another pod, and your health information in a third pod. This would prohibit applications from poking about where they don’t belong for profit. Of course, because so many large companies make so much money from the current system it may be impossible to change it.
Of course, Solid and MIT aren’t the only ones trying to decentralize the web. The InterPlanetary File System is trying to achieve the same goal, but through a model more similar to BitTorrent. These folks want to decentralize whole websites by allowing multiple computers to provide various parts of a page instead of pointing a domain to a server. They believe this would reduce censorship and increase website up-time.
It all comes down to supply and demand, but I certainly hope people take the time to learn about this technology and realize how it can change their lives for the better. We live in an ever-changing world, and we must continue to improve through innovation.