by Steven Rosenbaum
June 3, 2019
On a mysterious farm just above the Pacific Ocean, the group who
built the Internet is inviting a small number of friends to a
They describe it as a camp,
people can freely exchange ideas about the technologies, laws,
markets, and agreements we need to move forward."
It wasn't that long ago that the Internet was an open network of
computers, blogs, sites, and posts.
But then something happened - and the open web was taken over by
private, for-profit, closed networks.
businesses that are looking to sell audiences to advertisers.
Brewster Kahle is one of the early web innovators who built
Internet Archive as a public storehouse to protect the web's
Along with web luminaries such as Sir
Tim Berners-Lee and
Vint Cerf, he is working to protect and rebuild the open nature of
"We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity,
as it was supposed to have done," Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair.
"ended up producing -
[through] no deliberate action of the people who designed the
platform - a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is
So, they're out to fix it, working on what they call the
The "d" in Dweb stands for
In 'distributed systems', no one
entity has control over the participation of any other entity.
Berners-Lee is building a platform called
Solid, designed to give
people control over their own data.
Other global projects also have the goal of taking take back the
This July 18-21, web activists plan to convene at the
Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco.
Back in 2016, Kahle
convened an early group of builders, archivists, policymaker, and
journalists. He issued a challenge to use decentralized technologies
to "Lock the Web Open."
It's hard to imagine he knew then how
quickly the web would become a closed network...
Last year's Dweb gathering convened more than 900 developers,
activists, artists, researchers, lawyers, and students.
the gathering by reminding attendees that the web used to be a place
where everyone could play.
"Today, I no longer feel like a player, I
feel like I'm being played.
Let's build a decentralized web, let's
build a system we can depend on, a system that doesn't feel creepy"
he said, according to IEEE Spectrum.
With the rising tide of concerns about how
social networks have
hacked our democracy, Kahle and his Dweb community will gather with
increasing urgency around their mission.
The Internet began with an idealist mission to connect people and
information for good.
Today's web has yet to achieve that goal, but
just maybe Dweb will build an Internet more robust and open than the
current infrastructure allows.
That's a mission worth fighting for...