World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has completed an investment round for his start-up company Inrupt, which aims to prevent big tech giants such as Facebook and Google from tracking people online.
Berners-Lee set up the World Wide Web (WWW) 30 years ago as an information system, but says it has now deviated from his original vision as a collaborative space for all. According to Berners-Lee, today's WWW provides an opportunity for scammers, gives a voice to those who spread hatred, and makes all kinds of crime easier to commit, while having become a platform where users are accustomed to handing over their data in return for a service. In the company's blog, Berners-Lee says he believes that today's Internet puts too much power in the hands of the tech corporations, and he expressed anger over Facebook selling personal data for political ads favouring Donald Trump in the 2016 election as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
As an antidote to the now 'dysfunction' of his original design, last year, Berners-Lee co-founded Boston, Massachusetts-based Inrupt with tech entrepreneur John Bruce. Their vision for Inrupt is to decentralize the web through the company's proprietary open-source platform 'Solid', which allows users to store their own data - photos, comments, contacts, calendar events etc. - in their own personal Solid POD. Individuals can then give people and their apps permission to read or write to parts of their Solid POD, so that they never have to fill out their details again. According to Inrupt, this approach protects privacy, while enabling developers to build apps without first harvesting massive amounts of data.
The firm's new funding has been led by Octopus Ventures, and Inrupt says the investment will be used to fund Inrupt's vision to offer a free, open Internet, run by users for their benefit, rather than one controlled by big corporations and governments.
Web site: www.inrupt.com .
All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.