Like Dr. Frankenstein, Tim Berners-Lee — creator of the World Wide Web — is disgusted by the monster he unleashed on the world.
“An engine of inequity and division,” he says of the modern web.
But now, Berners-Lee believes he’s created a new, parallel web that will allow users to bypass the flawed behemoths known as Facebook, Amazon and Google.
The open-source project, called “Solid,” is his years-in-the-making mission to decentralize the web by letting users choose where their data are kept, along with who can see and access it.
“Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value,” he said in a blog post describing it. “As we’ve all discovered, this hasn’t been in our best interests.”
Essentially, Solid gives users their own internet, he explained in an interview with Fast Company.
“We have to do it now,” Berners-Lee told the site, noting the ongoing revelations of the co-opting of Facebook by hackers and foreign powers. “It’s a historical moment.”
Besides, he continued, “We are in the Solid world now.”
The Oxford-educated Berners-Lee, 63, spent years working on the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where, along with Oxford, he is a computer-science professor.
Berners-Lee has also developed a startup called Inrupt that launches this week, which aims to offer tools for users to build their own apps on Solid.
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