Decentralized Internet Solid can break the monopoly of Facebook, Apple, Google and AmazonБолее half the world’s population — 3.9 billion people by the beginning of 2019 go to the Internet and regularly use them. This fact proudly noted by the international telecommunication Union (ITU). But the term “Internet” appeared 35 years ago, and more than a quarter century ago, people began to refer to as its “users”, users. In March, the World Wide Web celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Now we list a comma after radio and television, although for very many it has become the primary means of communication, entertainment, and earnings. Seem to ancient times, when the Internet had to dial in via modem and even wireless Wi-Fi has become a routine. A whole generation for whom the Internet is as familiar as their parents electricity. And modern children need to explain why the icon for calls on mobile devices depicted handset.
But if the Internet was originally a symbol of freedom communications, now this freedom has been the subject of intense struggle. On the one hand, has grown to epic proportions and become real monopolies Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google, whose commercial interests feed on personal data “users.” With the other legal restrictions of varying hardness for use of the Network and personal data regularly applied state. China generally lives in this sense, apart for their “gold shield”.
The Russian government is dreaming about the same, and even a bill in the state Duma is about to adopt. And users only, and remains, that suffer from paranoia. Where funneling their personal data to merchants, intelligence agencies, hackers? However, for many, it was already familiar — well, who really thinks that he has become “the new oil”, “fly” to “spider” the world wide web?
But the engineering thought is not static, and decentralized Internet, where everyone remains the full owner of your own virtual personality, information and data has already been invented. Its author became one of the founding fathers of the modern Internet, which spawned the world wide web and disappointed in his brainchild, the British scientist sir Timothy John Berners-Lee.
While his new invention called Solid — only a laboratory experiment. If it proves successful, it could threaten to ruin IT-giants. But while brilliant know-how in the eyes of experts is somewhat utopian. However, such is the fate of many brilliant innovations. Neither the invention of ekotoplivo or start production of electric vehicles has not yet abolished the need for the internal combustion engine, and the oil giants are not worried about its imminent collapse. Profile recalls the story of the world wide web and together with experts talks about the prospects of the decentralized Internet.
Three letters that changed the world
LO — the first two characters that managed to convey from one computer to another using remote connection. It happened almost half a century ago, on October 29, 1969, at 21.00, at the first session of computer network Arpanet. Then the researchers at the University of California tried to pass on the word LOGIN to my colleagues at Stanford University, but the connection was broken. And in the 70s the Network is already being used to exchange electronic messages.
A domain name system (DNS) was born in 1984 and five years later, Tim Berners-Lee gave birth to the concept of World Wide Web — the world wide web. Yes, these are the three letters that we hammered into the address bar of the web site. Although such a tradition is outdated and has become optional, in some cases, it can harm. But the fact remains that the WWW has turned the world upside down. Author Berners-Lee is also the HTTP Protocol and the HTML language. He also developed a system of identification Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that identifies online documents, images, files, services, mailboxes. In April 1993 there was the first web browser with graphical interface for Windows operating systems — Mosaic.
To think about the decentralization of the Internet at the time of its appearance was pointless, said the Deputy Director of the information security Center of the company “infosistemy Dzhet” Andrey Yankin. “Then he was absolutely decentralized, — says the expert, all data is stored on servers of their owners, who controlled access to them, and could be removed if necessary”.
That all changed with the emergence of sites that aggregate the data. “I was the first user of the Internet in your little gated town and remember how at night through a telephone switch connected to the Network and sat until morning in the first centralized online chat rooms”, — says Andrey Yankin.
Fundamentally, the Internet was conceived as a Network, working on open standards, continues the story of the birth of the world wide web the CEO of Qrator Labs Alexander Lyamin. “Open standardization, compatibility, everything, policy, which can be characterized by the quote “let a hundred flowers bloom,” he says. — All this has created the diversity global Network, Internet service providers, online businesses that we have today.”
The Lords Network
Radical changes and the centralization of the Internet is the story of the last decade. And this centralization eventually showed its negative side, experts say: it affected the rights of end-users, began to interfere with the development of new businesses, technologies and applications. Search engines, personal pages, blogs, social networks — evolution was rapid.
“Now in some Asian countries, where the Internet came later, most users believe that the Network is Facebook (the social network is as a default page in the browser), — says Andrey Yankin. — Yes, and my mom’s convinced that the Internet is of two types: Google”.
This idea of normal “users” of the Internet is understandable. All the space is now divided between several big players, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon. When the user opens the phone’s web page, Google, from free Internet is almost nothing left, says Alexander Lyamin. “Used DNS servers, proprietary protocols Google even goes directly into the hardware Google,” he says.
Users no longer control their data, and these data have become a real digital currency. In particular, Facebook, the owner of a huge network of the most modern data centers in 2018 is estimated at half a trillion dollars. “Users seemingly do not pay anything, — says Andrey Yankin. — But in fact they convey a social network huge volumes of information that are easily monetized”. At best we are talking about targeted advertising. But it goes beyond that. “Today, some big banks every day create a local copy of all the major social networks (usually the narrative), to promptly use information from it for credit scoring,” added the expert.
Turnover advertising business of one giant, Amazon, recently estimated at $125 billion and predicted the imminent future growth. All due to the fact that through cookies and other technical tools a company can track the actions of users, their needs, interests and preferences in every moment.
With frequent incidents of leakage of personal data. The largest happened in March of last year, when “leaked” data of 50 million users of Facebook. Now the Federal trade Commission thinks, and not whether Facebook fined $22.5 million for negligent protection of personal data. But fines from leaking to insure. At the center of such scandals in 2018 was also a savings Bank, British Airways, hotel chain Marriott International, Instagram.
A natural reaction to the “privatization” of personal data and its leakage was the legislative tightening of the rules for their storage and protection. In Russia adopted a number of such bills, and recently the rules on personal data protection (GDPR) adopted by the European Union. “The requirements of this law are very hard, almost impossible, — said Alexander Lyamin. But the adoption of the GDPR was a response to a completely valid topic, a response to the request of a society that increasingly wants to control the use of their own personal data”.
The birth of a new Internet
“The world wide web in the form in which I foresaw, is still not created. The future is still disproportionately the past” — was forced to admit that Tim Berners-Lee. The World Wide Web on 12 March will be 30 years old. A year ago, when I said 29, a scientist published a poignant letter exposing all the flaws of that “monster”, which became his brainchild. “Today, the Internet connects half of the world, but are we sure that the second half would have to connect it to the Web?” — asks Berners-Lee. The scientist has assured that remains loyal to the idea of a free Internet as a creative space for all humanity. But to realize this is possible only by uniting, he said, which has created a web Fund.
And last fall, the scientist presented his new project, working together with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of technology. This is a Solid platform for storing data based on the decentralized Internet. Now Berners-Lee is developing a custom application Inrupt based on Solid.
“In the ecosystem of Solid you decide where to store their data — stated in the project description. — Your photos, comments, upcoming events, the number of miles on your daily jog — it’s all contained in your Solid storage”. The storage could be at home, at work or on one of the online servers Solid of the user’s choice. Whether to grant access to this data and to what extent, decides the user. Solid similar “to the mixture of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and Whatsapp with a very simple design,” describes the invention of the American business magazine Fast Company.
Access to its own data can be closed by its owner at any time, says Andrey Yankin. “For example, if you want to delete bad pictures from the party from anywhere that managed to post while not completely lucid, Solid will allow you to do so immediately and absolutely everywhere,” he says. Now the publication of information on the Internet means the complete loss of control over her, she immediately begins to live his life. A Solid “aimed at the eradication of this digital slavery”.
“The emergence of a new decentralized Internet is now important as never before, the story on everyone’s lips, even mentioned in famous TV series Silicon Valley”, — said Alexander Lyamin. Modern mobile phones are quite powerful computers, says the hero of “Silicon valley,” Richard Hendriks and offers to combine them with your own algorithm in a single Network, thereby creating a decentralized Internet.
A task that tries to solve the Tim Berners-Lee in his project, explains the CEO of Qrator Labs, is an attempt to decentralize the Internet-level and object-level data, rights of data ownership. “This prototype, which, if not has full chances to become the new Internet, at least, can show the way how to do it,” — said the expert.
The history of the development of the Solid is similar to the appearance of the current web. In particular, the expert explains, even before the emergence of the WWW and the HTTP Protocol, the first network Protocol distributed search and transfer of documents was Gopher. “Then, in 90‑e years, Gopher has been really popular, but the technical possibility of its full realization was missed,” he says.
The idea of the WWW is the concept of a “hyperlink” (a hyperlink) in which part of the document can refer to another item placed somewhere on the Internet. However, this concept “does not imply the model is a distributed storage and distributed access to information”. “In the end, when all the data is in the structure of one company, for example, Facebook or Google, the web decentralization becomes singular, — explains Alexander Lyamin. — Tim Bernes-Lee is trying to push off this situation by getting together with links and the data itself was distributed”.
This means that by uploading their information to the storage system is Solid, the user will not lose the rights to ownership of these data and will be able to dispose of them as you like: delete, copy, modify. And it also means that there will be no need to use repositories that are under the control of the IT giants.
Utopia or reality?
If Tim Berners-Lee will be able to implement the project, all restrictive Internet laws (which, quite frankly, and now are only selectively) would be unnecessary. Because then user rights to possession will be provided with built-in new Internet technologies. “This is the only correct way to solve this problem, since technological problems can only be solved technologically,” — said Alexander Lyamin.
But while Solid is just a laboratory experiment. The popularity of the Internet grows and users become more infantile. The main thing — convenience and speed, nothing else matters. Hence, a stable trend in “crackdown” and total control over the online activities of States and large companies, the expert notes. “This Solid trend does not fit — he concluded. — I wish the project success but I’m afraid it will remain an idealistic dream born of the romantic time of the birth of the global Network”.
Utopia tend to think Solid and Andrey Yankin. He noted that centralization of data is not the only problem of the Internet. Over traditional IP address. “During the creation of the Internet, no one thought he would become so huge, — says the expert. — In 1996 for solving these problems was adopted IPv6 (the sixth version of the Internet protocols). Everyone predicted that he will completely change the Internet, but the possibility is still there, despite the efforts of leading Internet service providers.”
The introduction of IPv6 support Internet giants, it is profitable. But this means not only enormous costs that these monopolies may be able to afford. This is a complete change of the Network, “what is it like to offer, for example, to abandon gasoline and diesel and transfer all the cars on kerosene,” cites the analogy of the expert. The user is unlikely to perceive with understanding. To support these corporations Solid? Unlikely, because they live by collecting and selling data about users. However, Tim Berners-Lee says that is not going to ask permission IT giants to conduct their research, which can lead “to a complete collapse of their business models.”
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