Inrupt – The startup that wishes to disrupt the Internet – for the better

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, the founding father of the today’s media-rich Internet is restless. And not without reason. The Internet has evolved by leaps and bounds from the time it erupted onto the technology landscape 3 decades back.  However, the ideals on which it was conceived, lie shattered according to Tim. He is aghast that big corporations like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have grabbed so much power on the Internet.  Literally everything a person does on the Internet, is dependent on them or can be tracked by them. Tim wishes to change this through his dreamchild Inrupt.

Inrupt Logo

Inrupt – A startup fuelled by ideas from Tim, is working in stealth mode. It wishes to tip the scales of privacy and give back the baton of power to Netizens. The home page of Inrupt displays on a fluorescent blue background, the words

The future is still so much bigger than the past
Inrupt’s Homepage – “The future is still so much bigger than the past”

How does Inrupt plan on achieving this? 

Inrupt is planning to harness the concept of Solid – an ecosystem conceived and being perfected by Tim and his team at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Solid ecosystem comprises of two main cogs.

  1. One, a repository of user data called the Solid Pod. A solid pod contains your data. It can be stored on any server on the Net or any pod storage provider.
  2. Two, an access mechanism to read and write to your Solid pod. You may also let developers access it selectively. 

You, as the ultimate owner of your personal data, get to decide and grant permission to apps, people and enterprises to access your Solid pod.  

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Advantages of the Solid Ecosystem

  1. It gives the user absolute control not only on what data to store, but also where to store the data and who needs to be given access to the data.
  2. Developers can hook on to new users instantly without forcing users to fill in lengthy sign-up forms. Once the user grants access to an app, the app automatically gets access to the user profile by linking to the user’s Solid pod.
  3. Your data is constantly updated and available to other apps.
  4. Any type of data can be stored on a pod. It could be data regarding your workout data from your fitness tracker, location data from your smartphone, website search data from your laptop, etc.

Inrupt has been in stealth mode for the last 9 months and Tim has announced that it would go public real soon.

Giving wings to your data and releasing it from the clutches of the Big Tech Internet companies seems to be the driving objective of Inrupt.  Tim also plans to drive its adoption by meeting up with developers. He will showcase the ease with which they can integrate their apps, games, websites with the Solid ecosystem.

Why Inrupt could end up being a Mega Disruptor?

For Governments

A  lot of governments today, are feeling the pressure from civil rights advocacy groups to safeguard the blatant violation of individual privacy by Big Tech companies.

  1. European Union is constantly in the news trying to reign in these Goliaths of the Tech world.
  2. Facebook, with its data leakage (Cambridge Analytica) and susceptibility to hacking, is not inspiring confidence among governments of the world.
  3. Google has been forced by the Chinese government to build a browser specifically for the Chinese market.

For Individual Netizens

Every netizen subtly or bluntly feels the sway of the Big Tech companies as he/she browses the Internet. For lack of time or in exchange for perceived benefits, we all hand over keys to our personal data to the Big Tech. This practice is accepted by a vast majority of netizens around the world as an inevitable sacrifice needed to access World Wide Web (WWW). This will change if Inrupt explodes on the scene in a big way.

Disrupt the Internet, Inrupt – for the better

If successful, Inrupt may be a mega game changer in the years to come. It could redefine privacy and even prevent privacy from becoming a stumbling block for newer, more grandiose ventures.

Inrupt may be a disruptor for the better by taking privacy from the hands of Big Tech companies and giving it back to individuals. Each person will be able to decide the level of sharing that he/she is comfortable with when it comes to their personal data.

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