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Re: How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2016 08:59:17 -0400
To: public-webid@w3.org
Cc: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>, "public-rww@w3.org" <public-rww@w3.org>, business-of-linked-data-bold <business-of-linked-data-bold@googlegroups.com>
Message-ID: <3c713494-d483-420e-c47a-c4537a3f4217@openlinksw.com>
On 8/19/16 6:20 AM, Adrian Hope-Bailie wrote:
> Kingsley,
> I am playing devil's advocate here but I don't think you have answered
> my question.
> Gaining agility is not a business case.

Enabling, enhancing,  and achieving agility via data access,
integration, and management is a fundamental business case. If that
weren't the case, why would markets for Analytics, Recommendation
Systems, AI-driven Bots, Big Data etc., exists?

It is always about data-driven agility.
> I am all for open standards, I spend the majority of my time working
> to promote them but I am still trying to understand what the economic
> incentive is for any service provider to adopt SoLiD as opposed to
> controlling their user's data.

The economic benefit of open standards are as follows, always:

1. Flexibility -- when choosing platform components i.e, you can mix and
match a combination components in line with needs
2. Vendor lock-in prevention
3. Technology longevity -- you can always go back to a full spec for a
specific platform component.

SoLiD isn't a standard, it is a combination of open standards and best
practices. Thus, its benefit is an open standards based approach for a
read-write web that benefits end-users and vendors.

> Google, Apple and  Microsoft control the end-user experience for the
> majority of users on the Web by giving them free browsers, email,
> social etc. In return they make money from controlling the data those
> products and services generate.

Correct! And history shows, companies don't adopt standards just because
they exists. They adopt standards as part of an "opportunity cost"
prevention or control mechanism, first.

> Are you surprised that the browser vendors all actively block
> initiatives at W3C that would promote an open identity system that
> would unlock their user data silos?

I am not convinced they are blocking initiatives per se. From my vantage
point, there is a general communication problems between all the parties
involved. For instance, there has been a lot of fanfare about how
browsers implement TLS and its impact on the something like WebID+TLS
protocol. That situation is rectified by WebID+TLS+Delegation, but folks
don't generally see or promote that, on the pro WebID side of the argument.

Bottom line, you can't declare standards adoption. You have demonstrate
the virtues of standards via applications that are adopted by end-users
and technology vendors.

> There are always politically astute excuses but let's be honest, if
> the browsers wanted to they could have made adopting WebID an easy
> user friendly experience and the world would be full of people who all
> have their own WebID that is used to log into all the services they
> use on the Web.

They don't need to. That's the problem. Here's a breakdown of the issue,
as I've come to understand it after hours of study and experimentation:

You have a digital highway provided by the Internet. That highway (like
in the real-world) enables movement of data from one point to another
where security is scoped to the agents (software) transporting said data
i.e., just like cars and car registration numbers.

The Web is an Internet abstraction that introduces the ability to
identify the user of an agent (like a car driver) distinct from an agent
(the software). Thus, you can demand reworking the highway just because
car drivers are now identifiable using their driver's licenses. That
will never wash in the real-world, so why would it work in cyberspace.

I want to transport some goods from Boston to New York.
The scenario above includes toll booths and a final destination.

On the highway, my car registration is the identity focal point, with
regards to toll payments. When I reach my destination, my personal
identity card (license or something else) is how I prove I am the
delivery person expected at the final destination.

Another example: I drive my car to a pub. At the pub my personal ID is
what's important. En route to the pub, my Car registration is what's
important. There are two distinct scenarios requiring different kinds of

WebID+TLS doesn't have the fidelity required for traversing the existing
highway without asking its current maintainers (Certificate Authorities
and Browser Vendors) to change infrastructure and practices.

WebID+TLS+Delegation simply adds the "On-Behalf-Of" relationship type to
the mix (i.e., in the data) which distinguishes the user from the
software they use (drive) thereby enabling one toggle WebIDs without
browser restarts (due to TLS requirements) [1].

> I am certainly not assuming that these companies are ignorant or
> myopic, quite the opposite. I think they will continue to keep users
> locked into their semi-open ecosystems by competing to offer the best
> browsers (that mostly adhere to open standards) and other free
> services. But they will never change the many services they offer to
> allow users to export and control their own data.

Power is never given. It has to be taken. End-users need to want to take
control of their identity by being curious about what that means and how
its is achieved. Currently, most aren't interested, so the vendors have
full control.

As history teaches us, repeatedly, there will be an event that triggers
an inflection, and folks will become more interested in their privacy en
route to discovering Web-scale verifiable identity.

> In fact, I'd go as far as to say that for them to do that would be in
> contravention of their legal obligations to their shareholders because
> it would be such a blatantly bad commercial move.

You are oversimplifying a little bit. The issue, as per my comments
above, is more to do with end-users than vendors. The obligation of the
vendor is simply about ability in regards to market inflections :)

-- Demonstrates WebID toggling without Browser Restarts, courtesy of

> On 18 August 2016 at 01:04, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com
> <mailto:kidehen@openlinksw.com>> wrote:
>     Hi Adrian,
>     On 8/16/16 8:51 AM, Adrian Hope-Bailie wrote:
>>     What is the business case for a service provider to adopt Solid?
>     There is always a business case for open standards, and it goes as
>     follows:
>     Agility to mix and match "best of class" technologies that
>     underlie solutions, at any given point in time.
>     When the Web's original open standards stack (URIs, URLs, HTTP,
>     and HTML) arrived it unveiled the World Wide Web, an ecosystem
>     that laid the foundation for Google, Facebook, Amazon, and many
>     others. It also enabled behemoths like Apple (struggling badly at
>     the time) to pivot and reinvent themselves.
>>     Why would Google, Facebook or anyone that build's their business
>>     on user data choose to let users take that away?
>     When the World Wide Web arrived, folks asked the question: Why
>     would Microsoft allow anyone succeed without embracing their
>     technology stack and related ecosystems.
>     SoLiD is just a collection of existing open standards and best
>     practices.
>>     Who will offer users a comparable service to these silos that
>>     attracts them away but adopts Solid and can still make enough
>>     money to survive competing with the biggest tech companies in the
>>     world?
>     See my comment about Microsoft and the World Wide Web.  This is
>     what happens with technology and industry evolution. Google and
>     Facebook aren't static behemoths and they also understand history.
>     Don't presume myopia and ignorance on the part of any of these
>     companies, they have too many smart people on their payrolls.
>>     The point is not whether or not the architecture is easy the
>>     point is whether it has the potential to make anybody any money
>>     because if it doesn't then I think you will have a hard time
>>     persuading people to use it, no matter how well it scales.
>     SoLiD scales and it simply adds dimensions to the Web ecosystem to
>     be exploited by behemoths, startups, and smartups.
>     New business and business models will coalesce around the Web's
>     read-write dimension. That's an inevitability due to the nature of
>     privacy.
>     Kingsley
>>     On 15 August 2016 at 14:11, Melvin Carvalho
>>     <melvincarvalho@gmail.com <mailto:melvincarvalho@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>         On 15 August 2016 at 14:08, Timothy Holborn
>>         <timothy.holborn@gmail.com
>>         <mailto:timothy.holborn@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>             Solid isn't finished yet.
>>         Solid is at version 0.6 rather than 1.0.
>>         But I dont really know what more can be added to it to get it
>>         to v1.0.  Im using it on a daily basis and it works fine. 
>>         Some people are perfectionists I suppose :)
>>         In any case its IMHO light years ahead of where the rest of
>>         the web is, even if you only take small parts of it and use it.
>>         You can also argue that solid will never be finished, in the
>>         sense that, the web will never be "finished".
>>         Its definitely something that can be used today.
>>             On Mon, 15 Aug 2016, 10:07 PM Melvin Carvalho
>>             <melvincarvalho@gmail.com
>>             <mailto:melvincarvalho@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>                 On 15 August 2016 at 11:50, Adrian Hope-Bailie
>>                 <adrian@hopebailie.com
>>                 <mailto:adrian@hopebailie.com>> wrote:
>>                     From the article: "The question is whether
>>                     architecture will be enough."
>>                     The answer is no.
>>                     We live in world where few ideas succeed without
>>                     a strong business case. The architecture is the
>>                     easy part.
>>                 Architecture is deceptively difficult to get right. 
>>                 The vast majority if systems start to fall over as
>>                 they scale.  The web and REST are two architectures
>>                 that buck that trend and just get stronger as they scale.
>>                 Solid is the next evolution in that architectural
>>                 trend, imho, because it simply embraces the points
>>                 that made the web great, and extends it a little bit,
>>                 while being 100% backwards compatible.  Right now,
>>                 it's the only system that I know of, with this
>>                 property, in fact, nothing else is close.  So this in
>>                 itself, the ability to scale to billions of users, is
>>                 a business case.  Quietly facebook adopted the social
>>                 graph approach to the web, and web architectural
>>                 principles with their graph protocol, and also an
>>                 implementation of WebID.
>>                 I think what's true is that few ideas succeed,
>>                 because simply, we have a lot of ideas and a lot of
>>                 competition.  Having a business can help, but the
>>                 right architecture is the magic sauce to get through
>>                 those scalability barriers. 
>>                 I personally think Solid is the business opportunity
>>                 of a lifetime, perhaps even bigger than the first
>>                 web.  Im certainly investing on that basis.
>>                     On 14 August 2016 at 10:49, Timothy Holborn
>>                     <timothy.holborn@gmail.com
>>                     <mailto:timothy.holborn@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>                         Hi Anders,
>>                         I'm using this email to respond to both [1]
>>                         in creds; in addition to the below, with some
>>                         lateral considerations.
>>                         See this video where Mr Gates and Mr Musk are
>>                         discussing in China AI [2].
>>                         I haven't fully considered the implications,
>>                         whilst i've certainly been considering the
>>                         issue; i have not fully considered it, and as
>>                         modern systems become subject to government
>>                         contracts as may be the case with enterprise
>>                         solutions such as those vended by IBM [3],
>>                         may significantly lower the cost for
>>                         government / enterprise, in seeking to
>>                         achieve very advanced outcomes - yet i'm
>>                         unsure the full awareness of how these
>>                         systems work, what potential exists for
>>                         unintended outcomes when work by
>>                         web-scientists[4][5] becomes repurposed
>>                         without their explicit and full consideration
>>                         of the original designers for any extended
>>                         use of their works, what the underlying
>>                         considerations are by those who are concerned
>>                         [6][7] and how these systems may interact
>>                         with more advanced HID as i've kinda tried to
>>                         describe recently to an audience here [8] and
>>                         has been further discussed otherwise [9] [10].
>>                         I'm a little concerned about the
>>                         under-resourcing that seems to plague Manu's
>>                         / Dave's original vision (that included
>>                         WebDHT) to the consultative approach that i
>>                         believed had alot of merit in how it may
>>                         interact with the works of RWW at the time
>>                         (alongside WebID) which have al progressed,
>>                         yet, not seemingly to a solution that i think
>>                         is 'fit for purpose' in attending to the
>>                         issues before us.
>>                         I have considered the need for people to own
>>                         their own biometric signatures.  I have
>>                         considered the work by 'mico-project'[11]
>>                         seems to be a good supporter of these future
>>                         works, particularly given the manner in which
>>                         these works support LDP and other related
>>                         technologies...
>>                         But the future is still unknown, and what
>>                         worries me most; is those who know most about
>>                         A.I. may not be able to speak about it as a
>>                         citizen or stakeholder in the manner defined
>>                         by way of a magna carta, such as is the
>>                         document that hangs on my wall when making
>>                         such considerations more broadly in relation
>>                         to my contributory work/s. 
>>                         i understand this herein; contains an array
>>                         of fragments; yet, am trying to format schema
>>                         that leads others to the spot in which i'm
>>                         processing broader ideas around what, where
>>                         and how; progress may be accelerated and
>>                         indeed adopted by those capable of pushing it
>>                         forward.
>>                         I remember the github.com/Linkeddata
>>                         <http://github.com/Linkeddata> team (in RWW
>>                         years) wrote a bunch of things in GO, which
>>                         is what the IPFS examples showcase, and
>>                         without providing exhaustive links, i know
>>                         Vint has been working in the field of
>>                         inter-planetary systems [13], therein also
>>                         understanding previous issues relating to
>>                         JSON-LD support (as noted in [1] or [14] ),
>>                         which in-turn may also relate to other
>>                         statements made overtime about my view that
>>                         some of the works incubated by credentials;
>>                         but not subject to IG or potential WG support
>>                         at present - may be better off being
>>                         developed within the WebID community as an
>>                         additional constituent of work that may work
>>                         interoperable with WebID-TLS related systems.
>>                         Too many Ideas!!! 
>>                         (perhaps some have merit...)
>>                         Tim.H.
>>                         [1] https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-credentials/2016Aug/0045.html
>>                         <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-credentials/2016Aug/0045.html> 
>>                         [2] https://youtu.be/TRpjhIhpuiU?t=16m26s
>>                         <https://youtu.be/TRpjhIhpuiU?t=16m26s>
>>                         [3] http://blog.softlayer.com/tag/watson
>>                         <http://blog.softlayer.com/tag/watson> 
>>                         [4] http://webscience.org/ 
>>                         [5] https://twitter.com/WebCivics/status/492707794760392704
>>                         <https://twitter.com/WebCivics/status/492707794760392704> 
>>                         [6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV8EOQNYC-8
>>                         <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV8EOQNYC-8> 
>>                         [7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_on_Artificial_Intelligence
>>                         <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_on_Artificial_Intelligence> 
>>                         [8] (perhaps not the best reference, but has
>>                         a bunch of ideas in
>>                         it: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1RzczQPfygLuowu-WPvaYyKQB0PsSF2COKldj1mjktTs/edit?usp=sharing
>>                         <https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1RzczQPfygLuowu-WPvaYyKQB0PsSF2COKldj1mjktTs/edit?usp=sharing> 
>>                         [9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTqF3w2yrZI
>>                         <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTqF3w2yrZI>
>>                         [10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x_VpAjim6g
>>                         <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x_VpAjim6g> 
>>                         [11] http://www.mico-project.eu/technology/
>>                         <http://www.mico-project.eu/technology/> 
>>                         [12] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CMxDNuuAiQ
>>                         <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CMxDNuuAiQ> 
>>                         [13] http://www.wired.com/2013/05/vint-cerf-interplanetary-internet/
>>                         <http://www.wired.com/2013/05/vint-cerf-interplanetary-internet/> 
>>                         [14] https://github.com/ipfs/ipfs/issues/36
>>                         <https://github.com/ipfs/ipfs/issues/36> 
>>                         On Fri, 12 Aug 2016 at 14:47 Anders Rundgren
>>                         <anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com
>>                         <mailto:anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>                             On 2016-08-11 15:16, Melvin Carvalho
>>                             wrote: > Really good article, mentions
>>                             Solid and other technologies.  WebID is
>>                             mentioned by the author in the comments
>>                             too ... > >
>>                             http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/ways-to-decentralize-the-web/
>>                             <http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/ways-to-decentralize-the-web/>
>>                             One of the problems with the Web is that
>>                             there is no easy way letting a provider
>>                             know where you come from (=where your Web
>>                             resources are).  This is one reason why
>>                             OpenID rather created more
>>                             centralization.  The same problem is in
>>                             payments where the credit-card number is
>>                             used to find your bank through complex
>>                             centralized registers. Both of these
>>                             use-cases can be addressed by having URLs
>>                             + other related data such as keys in
>>                             something like a digital wallet which you
>>                             carry around. There is a snag though:
>>                             Since each use-case needs special logic,
>>                             keys, attributes etc. it seems hard
>>                             (probably impossible), coming up with a
>>                             generic Web-browser solution making such
>>                             schemes rely on extending the Web-browser
>>                             through native-mode platform-specific
>>                             code. Although W3C officials do not even
>>                             acknowledge the mere existence(!) of such
>>                             work, the progress on native extensions
>>                             schemes has actually been pretty good:
>>                             https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webappsec/2016Aug/0005.html
>>                             <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webappsec/2016Aug/0005.html>
>>                             This is approach to decentralization is
>>                             BTW not (anymore) a research project, it
>>                             is fully testable in close to
>>                             production-like settings today:
>>                             https://test.webpki.org/webpay-merchant
>>                             <https://test.webpki.org/webpay-merchant>
>>                             The native extensions also support a
>>                             _decentralized_development_model_for_Web_technology_,
>>                             something which is clearly missing in
>>                             world where a single browser vendor has
>>                             80% of the mobile browser market! Anders 
>     -- Regards, Kingsley Idehen Founder & CEO OpenLink Software (Home
>     Page: http://www.openlinksw.com) Medium Blog:
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>     https://plus.google.com/+KingsleyIdehen/about
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>     http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen
>     <http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen> Personal WebID:
>     http://kingsley.idehen.net/dataspace/person/kidehen#this
>     <http://kingsley.idehen.net/dataspace/person/kidehen#this> 

Kingsley Idehen	      
Founder & CEO 
OpenLink Software   (Home Page: http://www.openlinksw.com)

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Received on Friday, 19 August 2016 12:59:44 UTC

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