Berners-Lee Startup Ramps Up Aim To Decentralize 'Net’

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, startup, Inrupt, internet, world wide web, decentralized, data, control

The startup Inrupt launched by internet founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee is stepping up activity in its mission to build a new world wide web, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Saturday (Feb. 22). 

In the works are a new operational team and pilot projects as Inrupt strives to create a “massively scalable, production-quality technology platform.”

Berners-Lee pioneered the internet in 1989 but is not happy with the way it has been taken over by profit-seeking enterprises. He said there is interest from open source developers, entrepreneurs, tech company executives and government officials who all want to back Inrupt’s pursuit to decentralize the internet and give users control.

“For the world to experience the true value of the web we’re building, we must address the vital issues related to privacy, trust and security,” he wrote in a blog post.

Inrupt has brought on five top technologists including veteran cryptography expert Bruce Schneier to serve as the head of security architecture. The startup is also teaming up with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in the U.K. for an “early years” app that will digitize medical files for children up to the age of 2.5 years.

Schneier said he is on board with Berners-Lee’s dream of an innovative internet standard that will oppose the “digital feudalism” of big tech. 

“The problem is that your data is not under your control. It is on computers owned by lots of other people. And you have no control over it and you do not have access to it in ways that are useful to you,” he told FT.

Inrupt was founded in 2017 “to operationalize the Solid decentralization technology,” which was created by Berners-Lee’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last year, Inrupt raised over $10 million to advance the company’s buildout.

The web at its best has always been about being decentralized, Berners-Lee said in May. Centralization has come in many forms — and has firmly taken the data created by consumers and corporations and placed it largely outside of their control. 




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