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Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has staffed up his startup, dubbed Inrupt, with a handful of notable hires that make its internet salvation mission a bit more plausible. On Friday, he announced the hiring of cryptography legend Bruce Schneier as chief of security architecture, computer science lecturer …
....isn't this an interesting idea?
OK, Sir Tim originally invented the 'web' bit of the inter-tubes way back when. Were I in his shoes, I would be rather disappointed in what humanity has done with it.
It has turned from a brilliant idea to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and discussion etc. into the festering cesspool of monetisation and self-aggrandizement that we have today. We have squandered it's potential and reduced it to merely another marketing tool.....why am I not surprised.
If his latest stated aims are achieved (Where *you* control what you publish where, rather than accepting someone else's controls and policies) it will go a long way to redressing the balance....provided we don't make the same mistakes again. That's unlikely as someone, somewhere will wrest control from where it should be for their own benefit, dressed up as in our interest.
Optimistically cynical as ever,
and based on the fact humanity came up with crap ideas how to use flintstone, fire, the wheel and basically every invention since then this was quite to be expected ...
_Every_ invention that works will also be used for negative goals.
And his invention works perfectly :-)
"...users who will willingly offer their data to Google or Amazon or Facebook to get access to their aps."
Fine, if that's what people want to do with their data, let them.
But, it would be a nice idea if there was a way for those of us unhappy with the taking ways of the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to be able to shield our data and gain some control of our online personas.
As the old saying goes "Give me the tools and I will finish the job."
those of us unhappy with the taking ways...
... are unfortunately a small minority. Social networks, are, well, networks - they only work if they're connected. Since most people have no problem with having their votes influenced by the right wing, rich and Russians as long as a free service tells them they're popular with their friends, there's no incentive for Facebook et al to build the interfaces that would allow limited and un-monetizable data to integrate into their networks thereby devaluing them.
I'm pretty sure TBL knows this is a non-starter and is merely hoping that airing the concepts might at least undermine any potential argument that social media companies may make to regulators to the effect that privacy is intrinsically, technically impossible.
Decentralization could work with social networks: give everybody a standardized API and a dozen Facebook clones could talk to each other as if everybody was on the same site. You could try to mandate Facebook participate in such a scheme, but they'd probably treat it the way the cable companies treat CableCARD: something that meets the minimum legal requirements and restrict every possible feature to the company's boxes.
"Decentralization could work with social networks: give everybody a standardized API and a dozen Facebook clones could talk to each other as if everybody was on the same site."
What you describe is anathema to the true goal of social networks: control of the data. The goal is a captive market, not a federation. It's not worth it unless there's a winner.
The problem behind the problem is that no man is an island. Things people do can affect other people without their knowledge. Thus my constant dread that Stupid is going to take the rest of us with them. They don't realize they're doing it, but their mere association with the rest of us is enough.
Indeed, just look at how vaccine denial is killing babies with measles who should be protected by herd immunity. If you deny your kids vaccines you not only endanger them you endanger those who are too young to be vaccinated or who cannot be vaccinated for other reasons.
I cannot have flu vaccines because I had a nasty, throat closing, allergic reaction to my last one back in the noughties. If more people had a flu vaccine each winter my chances of being laid low by one as I was recently would decrease. But I'm not holding my breath.
If there was an Ebola level of fatality pandemic with a vaccine we would still be fucked because of the vaccine deniers.
Swap vaccine for almost anything and the stupid wins.
Things people do can affect other people without their knowledge. Thus my constant dread that Stupid is going to take the rest of us with them. They don't realize they're doing it, but their mere association with the rest of us is enough.
Have an upvvote.
Case in point, WhatsApp. They have my phone number without my consent because people who have my phone number in their phone use WhatsApp and it hoovers all contacts up.
Worse, data is something that cannot really be contained. It's less like a sheep and more like a novel crop. Someone determined enough can find a way to take the data and COPY it (similar to how, in the latter case, one can smuggle seeds). The moment someone ELSE has access to your data, you've lost control of it, and there's no way to get it back...EVER.
"It's not clear what that means in practical terms because people currently make privacy decisions that tend to prioritize access and free services over data protection"
I'm not sure I would describe blindly hitting an 'accept' button as a decision. A choice between handing over all your data and a no entry sign isn't actually a choice.
Agreed, modern houses with secure double glazing and multipoint locking doors are hard to burgle unless someone leaves a window open or door unlocked. UNLESS you are motivated enough to become VERY good at lockpicking since the locks are pickable, by the very good and quickly enough not to be rumbled by the very, very good.
That is why home invasion is becoming more common, you get in by knocking on the door and forcing your way in when it is opened having scoped the little old lady first.
All of the directors have been around the block a few times. They know that the Internet is largely funded by advertisers.
The threat of users moving en masse to Inrupt might be enough to bring the ad industry to heel. They might "voluntarily" agree to restrictions on how they collect and use data. Advertisers will have to be satisfied with extracting less value from data they collect. Advertisers will complain but live with it as long as nobody else can can do better.
Alternatively Inrupt could set up a micropayment system that replaces web-sites' income streams. That could make Inrupt the world's biggest bank. Advertisers will find other ways to reach your eyeballs.
It had to happen sooner or later : Access Control Lists for the web. Unfortunately in reality, managing these and assigning user permissions individually for even small numbers of resources has always been and will always be a time consuming headache. Adding users to groups or roles and granting permissions that way as well can make it even more painful when you haven't planned and structured your resources well. Basically, would you want to be a full time Active Directory administraor over everything you ever publish on the web?
I wonder if this is the final terminology that will be settled on. I find the actual word and the way it's used in sentences like this to be a little creepy.
Sure, the word has many normal meanings. And hearing "coffee pods" isn't that unusual. But in this context, where "data pods" (by extension) makes me think of science fiction, all I can picture is Invasion of the Body Snatchers. (An icon of Donald Sutherland wasn't available.)