When World Wide Web was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, its purpose was for the web technology to be available to everyone, always, without any patents or royalties. Recently, as the Internet becomes more and more centralized, the creator of the Internet and other people at its heart start calling for a revolution in order to rethink the way that Internet works.
A lot has happened in the years of Internet’s existence, but the pattern is clear: the tool that was meant to bring profound advance for liberty is too often used by governments and corporations as a means of control. Russia and UK, for example, have passed new intrusive surveillance laws, and China and Vietnam block major websites from their citizens; users are being tracked by corporations and advertisers, and their data is being sold to third parties; Internet giants like Google and Facebook yield big power over the data of all the global Internet users.
Tim Berners-Lee publically speaks against such invasive surveillance laws as UK’s Snoopers Charter. According to him and other web activists, the only way to give Internet its original purpose is decentralization and encryption. Some of the so-called Web 3.0 projects are already attracting investors with their idea of more privacy and security.
Blockstack is a startup that is working on open-source software to create a kind of parallel web – one powered by the bitcoin blockchain. It hopes to give users more control of their data by avoiding storage with any third-parties. Later this year, Blockstack is planning to release a software that will allow surfing this alternative Internet with a regular browser. Its users will generate data by using various services, but the data will not be stored in any of those service databases.
Another example of initiatives aimed at decentralizing the web is MaidSafe, a startup which has spent a decade building a decentralized p2p network, and now allows to create safe websites, store data, host websites and more.
Encryption: today’s solution for Internet security
Web 3.0, which could be defined as a platform for decentralized apps, might be the future of the Internet, since decentralization idea is gaining popularity among mainstream developer community. Till then, Internet users must be careful about their Internet privacy, and take initiative to implement available encryption tools.
There already are many existing ways to encrypt one’s Internet activities: secure email service providers, such as ProtonMail, or encrypted messaging apps, such as Signal.
One of the must-have encryption services is a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN encrypts all data between a user’s computer and a VPN server into a secure tunnel. It is important to choose a VPN like NordVPN that doesn’t keep any customer logs, offers secure encryption protocols and advanced security solutions like DoubleVPN. A VPN hides a user’s IP address, disguising the real location, thus giving the user a great layer of protection online from unwanted security threats and/ or surveillance.
At the moment, encryption – be it via encrypted email, messaging or VPN technology – remains the most secure tool available to protect one’s online privacy and security.