The Who.Me? Experiment

In his November 2019 Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, raised a red flag signalling his serious concerns that the web is broken and is in need of urgent fixing, a mid-course correction.

His vision of a “free, open, permission-less space with no attitude, independent of culture, language, type of computer, operating system or type of document” has been undermined by government censorship, insufficient accountability, tracking & spying, tension between law enforcement & privacy and the rise of fake information.

Noting that privacy is a fundamental right and that the web doesn’t have to stay the way it is now Berners-Lee points out that we ALL have a role to play.

“the future doesn’t change itself …it is changed by people”

In a call to arms Berners-Lee implored developers to build accountable systems and think about revenue models other than data collection.

“always think about the unintended consequences”

think about the way your app can be manipulated and misused”

The Web Foundation , created by Berners-Lee in 2009 published a contract for the web in July 2019, bringing together organisations, governments, companies and individuals to ensure that the web “continues to be a force for good”. This contract is the basis for urgently fixing the Web and I for one have endorsed this contract and I strongly urge visitors to this site to do the same as a first step in changing the future.

We need a functional humanity connected by technology”

“We need to get the web fixed urgently. For one thing, because climate change is urgent and we need science, democracy and global collaboration to fix climate change”.

It was, however, his reference to the huge potential of Solid accounts and Solid Pods that set my creative juices running …

“Solid gives users complete control of their data by decoupling the data from the application”.

A global identity system using Solid with ubiquitous sharing controls and a secure location, a Solid Pod, for storage of your personal data in the cloud“.

“it starts off being about privacy but creates a world in which you are empowered to share anything with anybody”.

So, can I, a non-techie make use of existing technologies and services to create a personal digital identity, one over which I have complete control and one that I could use to authenticate myself on the Internet?

The Who.Me? Experiment documents my efforts to achieve that goal and records my personal journey through the minefield that is digital accountability and personal privacy.

Read my Digital Identity Blog to find out how I get on.