Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Feb 2014 22:20 UTC
Internet & Networking

Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine's March issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about keeping an eye on for-profit internet monopolies such as search engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanised web.

"I want a web that's open, works internationally, works as well as possible and is not nation-based," Berners-Lee told the audience, which included Martha Lane Fox, Jake Davis (AKA Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: "What I don't want is a web where the Brazilian government has every social network's data stored on servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to set one up."

A government never gives up a power it already has. The control it currently has over the web will not be relinquished.

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Thinking down the line though, P2P has a few advantages in terms of scalability since everyone contributes to the network. Otherwise we'd need to buy a lot more servers. <snip>

You are definitely right in the sense that P2P effectively brings advantages.

But... I have to say you really like challenges, don't you? I think that going P2P is bringing a lot of extra complexity with it. That is more a gut feeling than anything else. There are a lot of things that seem harder for me to implement in a P2P based model. How would you define a "person" (or "persona") in that model? How would you be able to identify a "persona"?

I personally would like to base everything on public-private key cryptography. This would allow people to identify themselves by signing messages (or "stuff"). It would also allow to encrypt messages using the public key of the recipient.

Another thing on a P2P network: what about data persistence? When I switch off my laptop, are people still gonna be able to read my messages, my comments? Or how would that work?

... Would you have concerns over a hybrid model?

To be honest, the thing that I personally find most important is that the whole system is based on open protocols and does not promote lock-in. So that means I am free to chose the software I like, run it on any system I like and still be able to communicate with anyone else in the network, no matter what system or software that other person uses. So, if you pull it off on a P2P based system, I would be happy.

Federated system with real servers would of course be nice. But when designing a P2P system, I would take into account "federation" during design, but probably first focus on having a working pure P2P system. And then focus on federation in a second step.

Just to be realistic though, like "Werecatf" already mentioned, there's already several projects that tried to build an "open" social network and none of them succeeded in really becoming "visible".

Edit: OSnews is not really meant for brainstorming, and it's going to cut us off soon. However I really like the discussion we have going, would anyone else participate if I setup another channel to exchange ideas?

I would definitely like to share ideas about this a bit more!

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