Internet Will Be Revolutionized by a Decentralized Web

Our personal information is routinely utilized in ways we do not consent to

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica affair is a textbook example of data privacy gone wrong. Without their knowledge or agreement, a political consulting firm acquired the personal information of 87 million Facebook users.

Another major privacy issue is data leaks and breaches. In the last five years, there have been massive data exposures at Zoom, Microsoft, and Spotify. Yahoo had the worst leak, with almost three billion consumer accounts exposed.

From the outside, the internet appears to be in good working order. However, the web’s backend services hinder us from maintaining control over our data.

In its current form, the web is based on centralized systems. Databases, servers, and other storage facilities are examples of this. Each collection of data is essentially stored in a single location. This could be a local storage device, such as a laptop or phone, or it could be in a data center, such as those run by Google or Amazon.

This design places no emphasis on user experience or data control. It’s meant to produce a lot of money for a few firms that own storage facilities.

Competition is being stifled, growth is being slowed, and public trust in technology is deteriorating.

This is where decentralization comes into the equation

A decentralized network would look and feel similar to the internet we know today, but with significant changes to the underlying functionality.

To transition to a decentralized network or dWeb, a distributed world computer must be built. We would use a peer-to-peer infrastructure instead of depending on centralized hosting providers.

A peer-to-peer infrastructure is essentially a global computer network. As a node, each device connects to the internet. No single website is hosted by a single server or data center, and none of our data is kept in a single location.

Instead, we would pool computing resources from around the world.

Decentralization would dismantle gatekeepers such as Google and Amazon. It would also prevent authoritarian governments from suppressing websites or persons who have opposing viewpoints.

The technology needed to decentralize the web is already being developed by early adopters. Solid is a decentralization project led by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. The project’s goal is to decentralize web applications, which will drastically modify how they work.

Solid’s suggested adjustments would fundamentally alter the social media sites that have given us so many privacy complaints. Solid’s developers propose that you own your images, Facebook posts, Tweets, Snapchat stories, and YouTube movies. Decentralization would allow you to switch between apps without losing data or social ties. Not only social media could see significant changes. Decentralized versions of Microsoft Word and Google Docs are also on the way.

Decentralized word processors would encrypt and store your data across a network of thousands of machines. Nobody can read your data unless you have your encryption keys, which are never left on your device. Decentralized apps function similarly to the apps we have presently, but on a local level. In other words, on your computer rather than via the internet. As long as you remember your password, you can still access your data from anywhere.

This gives you control over your data rather than the organization or person holding it. When decentralized apps become popular, we will have greater data privacy and the ability to generate money by renting out the additional storage space on our smartphones.

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