Is the internet centralized or decentralized

Digital - The internet of tomorrow is really everywhere

Tim Berners-Lee was disappointed. No, that is still not enough. Tim Berners-Lee was devastated, as he said in an interview. The tragedy played out before his eyes: the web had failed. The promise to help humanity, at least partially broken. And he, the inventor of the World Wide Web, was not at all satisfied with the path his invention had taken.

You just have to look at Facebook to understand that. A look at the past few months is enough. March 2018: The Cambridge Analytica scandal becomes known. The company had obtained data from around 87 million Facebook users. September 2018: Facebook reports that hackers had access to around 30 million profiles. Among other things, they were interested in the places recently visited and the most recent Facebook searches.

October 2018: Facebook blocks hundreds of accounts and pages again. With this, the network tries to get spam and propaganda under control. It was only in 2016 that political actors made targeted use of Facebook's mechanisms to influence the election of the American president. Facebook had done nothing to counter this.

If all the data is in one place, three bugs are enough for hackers to steal it.

Hacks, manipulations, data collectors, disinformation using algorithms: if all data is in one place, then there is only one point at which something has to go wrong. Then three bugs are enough for hackers to steal the data of millions of people. Then Facebook, Twitter and Google can turn the accumulated data of their users into a business model. Then Facebook automatically becomes a worthwhile target for attacks and manipulation. Then a state can switch off a service like WhatsApp and paralyze the communication of its citizens.

"People today experience the negative side of centralization in many ways," says Dietrich Ayala from Mozilla, a software community that promotes open standards and free software such as the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Because the power to make decisions now lies with the site operators, not the users. If Twitter doesn't see a problem in a racist insult, then be it. If Google decides to pull the plug on Google+, the users will be powerless.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. Source: World Wide Web Foundation / AP

But not everyone is ready to simply accept this development - not even Tim Berners-Lee. He has therefore founded the Solid platform, which is intended to be a technical basis for various online services. The basic idea behind it is not that complicated: Why should we leave the information about our friendships, appointments and jogging laps to Facebook, the Apple Watch or Google?

Instead of leaving our data everywhere, Berners-Lee wants us to take it with us from one website, from one app to the next - using the Solid-POD. It's a bit like a secure USB stick for the web, explains Solid on its website. Users can allow apps or other people to access the POD. But you retain complete control over your data.

So far, the data of millions of people has been stored on the servers of individual companies. The new web is supposed to work differently. It should offer more security in a decentralized manner. Source: imago