The Internet has come a long way since Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1989. He believes it’s time to take back our privacy, and we should, especially when we live in a time where the eroded principles of privacy are just a fact or reality that everyone accepts as “normal”.

Through their startup Inrupt, Berners-Lee and CEO John Bruce created the “Solid Pod” – or Personal Online Data Store. It allows people to store their data in one central location and control which people and apps have access to it, rather than having it stored by apps or sites all over the web, CNN Business reports.

Berners-Lee says that the main appeal of this kind of self-hosting is control and privacy, and John Bruce adds to this by noting that user data is not only protected from corporations and governments, but is also less likely to be stolen by hackers.

“I think we’ve all realized that the value of the web is embodied in the data available on it. In this new world where you look after your data yourself, it doesn’t live in big silos that are lucrative targets for attackers.”

Says John Bruce.

Inrupt’s platform is already being tested by the UK’s National Health Service and the government of the Belgian region of Flanders, which plans to use the devices in question to allow its citizens to choose how to share their personal data.

In October, the BBC introduced an experimental service using Pod devices for “viewing parties”, where multiple friends stream a programme at the same time. When the viewing party is over, the user can see the data that has been generated, including which programme they watched and who else joined in, and choose whether to delete or edit the information – or allow the BBC to use it.

In a blog post, Eleni Sharp, executive product manager for BBC Research and Development, described this method as a “radically different approach to data management”.

Inrupt has been operating since 2017 and has earned $30 million, and Berners-Lee says it will help shape the next iteration of the World Wide Web – Web 3.

“You’ll hear people talk about Web 3 and decentralization as being very similar in ideas and goals.”

said Paul Brody, Global Blockchain Leader at consulting firm Ernst and Young.

He believes Web 3 could change the way we use the internet.

Berners-Lee hopes his platform will give control back to internet users. He is convinced that the public is concerned about privacy and don’t want to stand idly by when web platforms have massive amounts of data and misuse it. In his view, what we are missing is empowerment. His desire is to get back to a situation where you have autonomy and you have control over all your data.

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