Solid is a new technology for organizing data, applications, and identities on the web. The release is aimed at business testing for now.

The first version of the server for the Solid open-source project is already underway. It is a new Internet data management system in the hands of Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web. The goal is to offer users a better privacy system.

According to the information published this November 9 by Berners-Lee on the official site of Inrupt, the startup that manages the project, the Enterprise Solid Server (ESS) is available for business tests after two years of work.

He states that the server is under test by organizations such as the BBC, the British NatWest Bank, the UK National Health Service, and the Government of Flanders (in Belgium).

For Berners-Lee, who serves as Inrupt’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), this launch represents a new milestone in the way these organizations connect people to their data. For this reason, it invites other companies to join the project.

“Our pilot partners are already using Solid to build new products and services that were impossible before (…) Now the same opportunity is open to organizations around the world,” says John Bruce, CEO of Inrupt. It ensures that the technology is capable of covering tens of thousands of users at the same time.

On the project’s official site, Solid is described as an open-source technology for organizing data, applications, and web identities, based on existing standards on the web. In its testing stage, platform participants can develop and use experimental applications to manage digital containers.

Proposal to manage data on the Internet: digital containers

Solid represents the creation of a personal digital container called POD (personal online data). There, users can save any information they want, such as medical data, personal documents, identity cards, credentials, among many others.

Bruce explains that this POD communicates with Solid’s server and is stored in the service provider’s cloud, which can be Inrupt, the Solid community, or the user himself. These digital containers are stored in an interoperable format, which makes it easy for users to control the permissions they grant.

The main idea is that everyone has their digital container as well as their proper key. Thus, the user decides which entities and applications can access their data. Consequently, online services will grant access to large data warehouses of any POD. But instead of waiting for that data to be uploaded to their sites and servers, they will need to ask for user permission and require access to it.

It is a way of handling data and protecting privacy that differs from the current management of the Internet, where user data “decays into silos (of information), disconnected from the people who value it the most,” as read in a tweet from Inrupt.

These silos are usually in the hands of corporations behind the back of the users. Therefore, with the creation of the POD, people decide what they want to share and with whom, based on a relationship of trust.

Tim Berners-Lee wants to change the way the Internet works

For more than two years Tim Berners-Lee has been working on the Solid project to change the handling of data on the Internet. Source: Paul Clarke / Wikipedia. In a Medium publication, Berners-Lee stated two years ago that Solid will change the model under which users hand over their personal data to digital giants.

“As we have all discovered, this has not been in our best interest. Solid is an evolution of the web to restore balance, giving each of us total control over data, ”Berners-Lee said.

In his writing, the father of the Web recounts how the project came to light, based on his desire to address privacy issues on the Internet through a new set of tools.

With this proposal, Berners-Lee wants to change the management of the web, reiterating that its use serves for purposes that do not relate to the initial goals in the beginning. This occurs 30 years after the first successful transmission from the Internet happened, using the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) that he developed.

By: Jenson Nuñez.


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