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Monday, October 01, 2018

A radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web

Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself. It’s a crisp autumn day in Boston, where Berners-Lee works out of an office above a boxing gym. After politely offering me a cup of coffee, he leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.

“The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking.

This week, Berners-Lee will launch, Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.

“We have to do it now,” he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. “It’s a historical moment.”



Anonymous said...

More and more those on the other end of our internet connections are controlling our use and our lives. It's time for that to stop.

Anonymous said...

People are putting out large sums of money to learn code only to find out that there is no feed back. If you have an error....too bad. You need to have someone or something (the computer) to catch errors and guide you through or you will never make any progress.

bob pinto said...

I'd like to see an end to monopolies such as Comcrap being the only isp in town to charge whatever they want.

I would also like to see companies starting up saying they'll do business with liberals only and not pretend fairness and then ban conservatives.

lmclain said...

He better be careful.
He's messing with people who could drop $100 million on a murder scheme and be richer the next day.
$100 million is relatively pennies compared to what he trying to influence.

He had to do it in secrecy because of the probability of him driving his car off a cliff or shooting himself in back of the head a couple of times increased as more news leaked out.
Great idea, though.