The Decentralised Web has made global headlines in recent weeks, with articles in high-profile publications such as The Guardian, Fast Company and IEEE Spectrum. Some the hype stems from Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s announcement that he is launching a new, “decentralised internet” platform. There’s also noise from Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, who hosted his second annual Decentralized Web Summit in August.
Of course, to the Next Generation Internet (NGI) community, this idea is not new. Since the NGI’s inception in 2016 by the European Commission, our initiative has been focused on creating a decentralised, democratised, human-centred internet that puts the power back in the hands of the people, for the good of society.
“Let’s build something that invites people in. Let’s build a decentralized Web, let’s lock the Web open for good, let’s bake in our values, let’s make freedom of the press irrevocable, let’s build a system we can depend on, a system that doesn’t feel creepy.” – Brewster Kahle in IEEE Spectrum
The internet of today sees most people’s user data concentrated in the hands of a few, large private corporations. This runs the risk of hacks, privacy and security breaches and the potential to lose important data. There’s also ethical concerns across the spectrum, from the early stages of technology and platform design right up to questionable use of end-user data. There’s also a general lack of awareness about and protection from surveillance and censorship.
“People want to have a web they can trust. People want apps that help them do what they want and need to do — without spying on them.” – Tim Berners-Lee on Medium
The NGI brings together European values of fairness, equality, open data and human dignity. Its benefits can already be seen in many of Europe’s Smart Cities. It is being worked on in universities and research institutions as well as by innovative Start-ups and SMEs. The NGI is part of Europe’s digital strategy to promote a decentralised and democratised internet. It’s about using next generation technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and smart connectivity to serve humans first and foremost, above corporations and technology itself.
“Rather than human behaviour being dictated and constrained by the technology, the Next Generation Internet puts people back in control. It also seeks to redress the balance of power and profits, which is so often weighted towards governemnts and large private companies,” says Dr Monique Calisti, CEO of Martel Innovate and HUB4NGI project coordinator (pictured).
The NGI has already attracted some of the best minds in internet R&D, innovation, academia and policy. We need even more players on board to create the internet of tomorrow in a truly open, multidisciplinary and participatory way. Join us today!
Facts and Figures
Since the NGI’s inception in 2016
- 23 EU Member States/Associated Countries actively working on NGI via their nominated NGI Contact Points
- 182 actors registered on the online NGI map – mostly SMEs, Startups and Researchers
- 15 workshops (since 2017) organised in EU Member States/Associated Countries by NGI Contact Points