Personal data has become a valuable commodity. It is gathered by large corporations, traded, and used to generate as much profit as possible. After all, we do live in a capitalist world, and everything has a price.
But why should it be this way? In general people have been slow to realise the value of their personal data - that is, if they ever realise it at all - and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web, wants this to change. Rather than giving away our data, he has been working on a new way for the internet to operate which is better aligned with his original vision. A way in which we, the users, retain full control of our personal data and benefit from it directly.
The new system is called Solid; an open source platform in which you control your own 'pod' of data. You choose where you want to store your data and which apps are permitted to access it.
The company behind Solid is called Inrupt, and it was co-founded by Tim Berners-Lee and John Bruce. The company aims to "reset the balance of power on the web and reignite its true potential" by decentralising the web and taking control away from the few key players.
In a statement about the new platform, Berners-Lee says "Solid is a platform, built using the existing web. It gives every user a choice about where data is stored, which specific people and groups can access select elements, and which apps you use. It allows you, your family and colleagues, to link and share data with anyone. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time.
He continues, "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."
It is certainly a very interesting proposition, and one that could change the web as we know it.
Read more about the project here: https://www.inrupt.com/