“Changing the way people connect with their data changes everything”, this is the opening statement on on the homepage of Inrupt, a startup founded by web inventor Tim Berners Lee. Three years after being founded Inrupt introduced a new platform for enterprise platforms, enabling development of offerings with a high level of privacy and control.
The new offering is an extension of Solid, “a technology for organizing data, applications, and identities on the web. Solid enables richer choices for people, organizations and app developers by building on existing web standards.” The software is open source and aims to offer standards how user data is handled, with more transparency and – ultimately – trust.
Users in control of their data
A key concept of Solid is that data of a user is stored in a secure Personal Online Data Store (PODS). The concept is still in early stages, currently overwhelmed by financial interests and many users simply accepting data tracking. What many hope is that initiatives and new offerings might lead to a threshold where user privacy will become the standard.
One step in that direction is the newly released enterprise software from Inrupt. It enables developers to build applications based on Solid. To provide an example: Inrupt currently works with the National Health Care Service in the United Kingdom. Once implemented, users of the NHS will be able to decide who has access to health data and records, from family to doctors to an insurance company. The key point is that the exchange is transparent and controllable for both sides, specifically the user.
Ideally this much better controlled and transparent exchange of data will open the path to fully trustable platforms.
NHS data: Can web creator Sir tim Berners-Lee fix it?, BBC (November 9, 2020)
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