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Solid pod Tim Berners-Lee
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Solid pod Tim Berners-Lee

  #1 (permalink)
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Solid pod Tim Berners-Lee

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee - known as the inventor of the World Wide Web

At MIT Berners-Lee has for years led a team on designing and building a decentralized web platform called 'Solid' — which will underlie the Inrupt platform. The Inrupt venture will serve as users' first access to the new Solid decentralized web.

This thread is discuss SOLID POD, its security (or not) and applications:

The Solid website:
https://solid.inrupt.com/how-it-works

There may be potential security issues I don't know of (lacking the computer knowledge) but somehow I think a memory stick if connected to your laptop could provide a backdoor to your laptop from an unscrupulous app developer.

The server is written :
"The primary implementation offered of Solid is written in Javascript based on Node.js. It should run on versions later than version 8. It is being developed on Github and is released with the liberal MIT license to NPM.
https://solid.inrupt.com/docs/installing-running-nss

There may be uses such as a portable website (?)

ZH article:
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-12/father-world-wide-web-warns-perverse-incentives-have-made-internet-dysfunctional

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Last edited by aquarian1; March 12th, 2019 at 09:46 PM.
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Some questions for the computer experts:

I was wondering:

1. Does this seem safe?

2. Why must I register to get a SOLID? (is this just more Information Harvesting?)

3. Does the software make an off-line storage on a memory stick (should you choose to store it there versus a server)?

4. The site seems "thin" big graphics but little in the way of FAQs.
  • For example does SOLID harvest my machine ID and IP and secretly upload it to inrupt.com?
  • Is my data encrypted on my memory stick?
  • Who controls the encryption and can I do that off-line with my on de-cryption password key (or do they "take care of it" meaning they can lock it from me (blocking my access)?
  • Can I modify data while off-line? (add delete photos, data, etc) - does this require running the Solid Server on my machine to do this?
  • Javascript doesn't sound very secure as a base platform - is it?

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@aquarian1: from what I understand it's a bit early for this to be useful for end users.
If your goal is to safely store your personal data there are already solutions like owncloud/nextcloud which are working quite well.

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Thanks aquarian1 for providing this link. It seems like an interesting project, although, as Sam pointed out, it's probably at an early stage still.


I will give you my take on your questions below. Please take my answers with a pinch of salt. I have red a few pages and this is based on a cursory understanding of the project.

Bear in mind that this is not something that is likely to take-off overnight. "Big-data" (as opposed to big tobacco, big pharma, etc.) such as FB, Twitter, etc. are likely not to endorse such an approach as it potentially means less revenue for them. Moreover to shift most online content from its present form to this model would require many, many years of planning and migration, so this is probably at a conceptual stage yet (there's only two providers right now https://solid.inrupt.com/get-a-solid-pod)


aquarian1 View Post
I was wondering:

1. Does this seem safe?
In theory, yes. Today sites like Reddit, Facebook, and so on store user's data on their own servers. This means that, when you sign up to their services, you start storing your details onto their infrastructure.

With this model, you would be deciding where your own data resides.

The model calls for a separation between the technology that operates the websites and the user-generated content.


2. Why must I register to get a SOLID? (is this just more Information Harvesting?)
It in unclear at this stage. It may be that the one of the project's future aims is to interact with governmental websites as well, in which case you would need to provide your own identity to those. Another reason may be that an identity is needed for SOLID to certify that you are who you say you are.

But, from the documentation I checked out, this is not stated so mine is pure speculation.


3. Does the software make an off-line storage on a memory stick (should you choose to store it there versus a server)?
The model apparently states that you decide where to store the data. They provided examples such as your home, or your office. Whether the data could reside on a memory stick depends on a number of things such as amount of data, technology, etc.

4. The site seems "thin" big graphics but little in the way of FAQs.
  • For example does SOLID harvest my machine ID and IP and secretly upload it to inrupt.com?
    Every web-based technology needs your IP address to be able to serve your requests
  • Is my data encrypted on my memory stick?
    See #3 for memory stick but presumably they are going to encrypt the data
  • Who controls the encryption and can I do that off-line with my on de-cryption password key (or do they "take care of it" meaning they can lock it from me (blocking my access)?
    The idea of the model is that you own the data so, in theory, no.
  • Can I modify data while off-line? (add delete photos, data, etc) - does this require running the Solid Server on my machine to do this?
    Unclear at this stage
  • Javascript doesn't sound very secure as a base platform - is it?
    I don't know where you read Javascript but these technologies typically make use of various "languages", so they may probably need Javascript for a specific purpose but use other stuff (e.g. PHP) for a different purpose.


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Thanks Sam and Xplorer.

Though ip addresses are used to send packets - that doesn't mean that the receiving site records them and attaches them to your ID.

As I understand the concept it is two-fold:
  • One it to fragment the web so that your space (think your website or your social media information) is portable and its storage is managed by you.
  • Second is two eliminate information havesting by facebook, google, etc. So now if you were to login with your facebook account to another site, facebook knows this and can probably harvest that information adding to a growing undisclosed database on you - what sites you visit read who your friends are who their friends are what they read and do etc. etc in a growing web of information harvesting that can and probably is given to NSA FBI CIA and uncle harry and his dog.

Yes you can store the info on one of the "approved servers" or on a memory stick - but let's say a memory stick:
then
if I choose to upload information to my memory stick and they are encrypting it them it they have a pass-through to my memory stick and it seems that they would also potentially have a backdoor to my laptop.

Keep your mind in the future, in the now.
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@xplorer

"I don't know where you read Javascript but these technologies typically make use of various "languages", so they may probably need Javascript for a specific purpose but use other stuff (e.g. PHP) for a different purpose."

-------
The reference and link is in my post. I'm not clear on why you are saying ("I don't know where you read Javascript")

my post:

Quoting 
The server is written :
"The primary implementation offered of Solid is written in Javascript based on Node.js. It should run on versions later than version 8. It is being developed on Github and is released with the liberal MIT license to NPM.
https://solid.inrupt.com/docs/installing-running-nss

Here's a picture of their webpage:
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aquarian1 View Post
@xplorer

"I don't know where you read Javascript but these technologies typically make use of various "languages", so they may probably need Javascript for a specific purpose but use other stuff (e.g. PHP) for a different purpose."

-------
The reference and link is in my post. I'm not clear on why you are saying ("I don't know where you read Javascript")

Thanks for pointing that out, I had missed it, sorry about that.

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