Following on from the overview of the SAFE UX/UI roadmap, and our implementation approach, we are taking a more in-depth look at each of the roadmap milestones. As you may recall, our first post in this series focused on the Perpetual Web. Now it’s time to elaborate on what we mean by “Take Control of Your Data.”
What do we mean by taking control?
In the current Internet (the ‘Clearnet’), you lose control of your data as soon as you upload it into the silos of the large technology corporations (FAANGet al). You see, these companies have complete autonomy over who can access their platforms, and can choose to remove this access at any time. For example, in 2016, Twitter deleted the account of their CEO Jack Dorsey who lost 700,000 followers in the process citing an ‘internal mistake’. Around the same time, Facebook deleted posts addressing fake news by their CEO Mark Zuckerberg in error.
While the irony of these incidents can be amusing, they do expose serious issues. Each one highlights that we are afforded access to our accounts and data according to the whims and business decisions of our service providers. In other words, we don’t really own our information in the true sense of the word. This is fundamentally wrong.
Your Data, Your Control
It’s worth highlighting early on that with this milestone, we’re talking about private data only. Public, or published, data on SAFE is perpetual and, while it can be versioned, cannot be deleted. On the other hand, the properties associated with private data gives you, the user, a range of levers to allow you to manage what you wish to do with your information.
Changing the Business Model of the Web
As we touched on in the Perpetual Web post, this milestone also means that surveillance capitalism is no longer viable as a commercial model on SAFE. The incentivisation structure is more efficiently aligned because the software will have to be designed and marketed around its utility to humans — as opposed to being designed to reward advertisers as it is today.
One way we’re doing this is fundamentally re-inventing the way in which apps interact with data. The architecture of applications as we know today will be revolutionised on the SAFE Network. It’ll no longer be this distant third party that you unknowingly hand over all your data to, with your only defence being in the form of lengthy, unreadable, terms and conditions in which they obliquely promise not to leak, sell, lose, or deny you access to your data in the future. The absurdity of T&Cs has been appropriated into memes, jokes and even a comic book. In this world, your data will be liberated. It will be yours in the truest sense of the word: portable and shared with whomever you choose.
Truly Portable Data
With the SAFE Network, portability becomes a reality from the very architecture of the system. All of your private data stays under your charge and is never in the hands of others. This gives you very detailed control of precisely who you share your data with, including the ability to limited access to your private data whenever you like.
We believe that giving back control to users will be a pivotal point in the evolution of the Internet and the relationship we have with our private data. While Perpetual Web refers to the public (published) data, our private data will no longer will it be held captive in the silos of the large tech companies.
Making this a reality
This isn’t just head in the clouds thinking. We have a number of live projects underway that are making this a reality. The best way to keep up to speed on progress is to head over to the GitHub project board or check-in every Thursday for the weekly updates over on the forum.
The SAFE Network is the Internet of tomorrow in more ways that one. Taking control of your data is a real possibility, with some real tangible progress being built today. The world that we live in now, where data is owned and managed by third parties, will soon become a thing of the past. And we won’t stop until that day comes.