"We've lost control of our Personal data" - Tim Berners-Lee

Twenty six years ago yesterday (August 6th, 1991), Tim Berners-Lee published the first website. It wasn’t much when compared to current standards, but clearly demonstrated what was possible. When he published it, he also solicited “collaborators” by posting a message to the alt.hypertext usenet group (thanks to Gil Press’ article on Forbes for pointing me to it). In it, he stated

“If you're interested in using the code, mail me.  It's very prototype, but available by anonymous FTP from info.cern.ch. It's copyright CERN but free distribution and use is not normally a problem.

…….

The WWW project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news, and documentation. We are very interested in spreading the web to other areas, and having gateway servers for other data.  Collaborators welcome!”

In his mind, there were things that were fundamental to his WorldWideWeb. Two things that stand out to me.

1.      Decentralization is fundamental – alas financial motivations have moved the Web away from this principle. Today, most companies store your data in large Centralized repositories. Think Facebook with information and content from 2 Billion people also stored in its centralized servers and that helped the company generate $9.32 Billion in Quarter 2, 2017 . This centralization has the negative effect of being attractive to hackers who are targeting these systems for profit as they did in 2015 when they stole 80 Million records from Anthem, the second largest U.S. health insurer. Furthermore, outside of hackers, the information is vulnerable to those that “manage” or have “legitimate” access to these systems and information, but use this access for nefarious purposes.

2.      He wanted to make sharing simple – As characterized by Harry McCracken, from the start, Berners-Lee proposed a tool for painless, democratized collaboration among CERN's staff of "several thousand people, many of them very creative, all working toward common goals." Unfortunately, with the advent of Social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, we’ve lost the “democratized collaboration”. We now have a middleman like Facebook that mines our posts to deciding what we see and who we interact with just so they can sell more ads. This evokes several emotions from creepy to irritating to infuriating. Tim Berners-Lee is trying to do something about it. He says, “We’ve lost control of our personal data.”, in his opinion piece “Tim Berners-Lee: I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it”

So, what can we do about it. Surprisingly, most of us are already taking steps to limit what we share with these middlemen. Folks using the Egg tell us that a small fraction of photos, videos and information that they generate is shared on Social networks. In the past, they would leave most of it on their Phones, DSLR cameras, PCs, USB Sticks or hard drives.

Nick J says "We have a 7 month old son and both were constantly trying to make room on our phones after taking so many baby pictures then we found THE EGG! I just wanted to say I am so extremely impressed with the Egg! The app is perfect for taking pictures and uploading pics directly which saves us a lot of time."

Now that these users have their Eggs, they take pictures/videos using the Eggcyte App, tag and upload them. This content is automatically shared with invited friends/family in their feeds. For old content stored on PCs, users use their browsers to log into their Eggs and upload content. Finally, for that content stored on USB sticks, they plug it into the USB slot on the Egg and the Egg imports the pictures and videos automatically. For these users, their content is visible to users in their respective feeds (similar to Instagram or Facebook) and they can comment and upload their own content without having to worry about the downsides mentioned by Tim Berners-Lee. Want to know more, check out our home page or better yet, try one out risk-free for 30 days.