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Digita – SOLID Project – NGI podcast series

Linknovate Team - August 5, 2021 - 0 comments

Who does not have dozens copies of their data (name, email, address, phone, health data, browsing hhistory data, etc) in multiple websites including social networks, job searching portals, retailers, ecommerce, games, newsletters and a myriad others. Data is spread out, dozens of copies of your own self. With SOLID the data will be only yours.

Now imagine the me-centralization of data. A safe virtual vault where you can provide access to the service (organisation) you want for the time you want.

Privacy concerns are a sympton of a bigger issue. There are people that believe that we should not be speaking about data privacy but about data control… but at the end of the day is it not our data?

Our interview: a bit of context…

Businesses are aware that the model is broken. Even they do not have enough data, they keep looking for more and more data. But do they want to keep and store more data?

<<We are not at war, we are under occupation when it comes to personal data.>>

Why do you feel now is finally the time?

GDPR already tells companies that you they do not own data you collect from others but they would have to control it, safeguard it and eventually… delete it, if requested.

It makes sense to supply only the data they need at the time they need it: data as a service. It would mean less headaches for everyone (e.g. avoid painful data breaches).  Lack of privacy is simply a symptom of inadequate business models (i.e. if the product is free, you are the product – meaning your data is used to generate revenue, mainly through advertisement or if you like also through the ability to imperceptibly change the future).

Photo source. SOLID

<< SOLID tries to level the playfield. No actor holding a lot of the data. Now it is the time, there is now legislation supporting this vision (GDPR).>>

<<EU is starting to be seen as the ethical police of the world>>

Screenshot of our conversation and podcast with Tom and Ruben (bottom). Top part: NGI Pointer team. Mirko Ross from Digital Worx, Mirko Presser from Aarhus Univ up center and Manuel Noya from Linknovate.

So what is solution?

SOLID allows for a different approach. With SOLID your data is yours. This is achieved through SolidPods, which are like virtual usb sticks citizens can have their personal data structured, and completely separated from applications. Data browsers would then connect to SolidPods, only when we grant them access.

This would put an end to the “data accumulation” economy, where business models incentivize companies to harness more and more data.

Photo source. Digita – Solid for Enterprises

<<There is (a priori) no technology stopper, but the fact that we can do it does not mean we should. There are so many societal, legal and ethical limitations.>>

How many people work at SOLID?

SOLID started as “socializing data”. It’s an ecosystem, not a platform ( does not exist as such). It’s a family of standards and everyone is invited. No party has an inherent advantage. [Although this new approach could mean lowering barriers for startups, we suppose at NGI Pointer].

How far along is SOLID? Any (successful) use cases so far?

BBC and the Flemish government have a pilot with SOLID. They want to bring every citizen to have their own personal data pod.

But do you think corporations would collaborate to change this problem?

Big tech (FAMGA: Facebook, Google, etc) have their own agendas. However they are aware their model is finite. There is a data transfer project between FB/Google, considering SOLID for it. They cannot sustain this for 10+ years.

<<Linux was “communism” when it was born, and now big tech (FAMGA) are big supporters. It’s not about ideology, it’s about economics.>>

For example, take the autonomous car: who owns/controls the data? Is it the carmaker, is it the owner, is it Google? Legal situations are too complex.

<<Data ownership is legal fiction: your data can be copied. So it’s about control. They are getting us to talk about the wrong things.>>

What is the SOLID vision? What is SOLID motto?

Tom: Exchange data without having to be concerned. Don’t breach the trust of the customers.

Ruben: It’s about Choice. Decoupling data from services. It’s all about control: you are in control. And the overarching theme: universality.

NGI Pointer Ambition: Implement an open-source registry of linked data shapes and forms to accelerate SOLID’s adoption.  SOLID leads to more personal data transparency, control and portability because its key concept, a virtual vault, ensures interoperability.

This is one of the Next Generation Internet architecture podcast series about groundbreaking projects that makes the internet more friendly, efficient and green. We leave you the SCION podcast in another entry.

Photo source. NGI Architects.