Decentralising the web: Why is it so hard to achieve?

Decentralising the web: Why is it so hard to achieve?

Simply put, the internet's reliance on centralised hubs of servers and data centres means that the more servers you control the more power you have, with all the negative consequences that follow from the creation of data-haves and data-have-nots.

To redress the balance, data needs to be freed from silos with control handed back to users, but how to do that while retaining the convenience and ease-of-use of the current web?

The Decentralized Web Summit plays host to a gathering of web luminaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Brewster Kahle and Vint Cerf. On top of that, activists and authors such as Jennifer Stisa Granick, Emili Jacobi and Corey Doctorow will be appearing, alongside cryptocurrency pioneers like Zooko Wilcox, blockchain developers, and academics.

Then, there's what the Guardian's John Harris calls the Punk Rock Internet - companies like MaidSafe and Blockstack who play by their own decentralised rules.

The original web was designed to be decentralised, but over the course of time it has been largely fenced off by a small number of quasi-monopolistic powers we know as 'the tech giants'. This makes designing a new decentralised internet - one that's ‘locked open' in the words of the Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle - a challenge even more daunting than those pioneers faced. Selling ads and services through the centralisation and mining of data (‘surveillance capitalism') has made the tech giants very powerful, and it can be hard to see beyond this model.

"The only thing that will force those decentralised systems to change on a fundamental level is a mass shift by consumers toward decentralised systems."

Certainly, a very interesting debate going on at the summit. It won't be an easy journey, but neither was building the original Internet, but it is an important one if we don't want one handful of companies dominating the whole Internet.

See https://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/3036546/decentralising-the-web-why-is-it-so-hard-to-achieve


Decentralising the web: Why is it so hard to achieve? | Computing
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