Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee launches Solid privacy platform for enterprises

Three locks in binary code on a screen

Inrupt, a startup launched by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, has revealed an enterprise version of its Solid privacy platform.

Designed with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Solid allows users to create Personal Online Data Stores (Pods). Solid Pods enable users to grant third-party apps access to their data instead of allowing companies to store and manage their data for them.

“It’s going to drive groundbreaking new opportunities that not only restore trust in data but also enhance our lives,” said Berners-Lee.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is a Solid early adopter. It allows patients to store personal medical data and information from smart-device-based health apps in Pods. Patients can then grant doctors, family members and at-home caregivers access to select data within the Pods. Caregivers, family members and patients can also add caretaking notes or observations that doctors can use to improve patient care.

Other Solid early adopters include the BBC, NatWest Bank and the Government of Flanders in Belgium.

John Bruce, Inrupt CEO, wrote in a blog post, “The NHS is empowering patients with their own medical data to improve people’s health and lower care costs. The BBC and NatWest are finding that a user-centered approach to trust and data opens doors to smarter service delivery. And the Flanders government is about to prove that Solid can transform an entire citizen experience.”

Berners-Lee has grown concerned with big tech exploiting its users and their data in the past few years.

In 2018, Berners-Lee wrote, “Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary.” He continued: “Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value.”