Tim Berners-Lee wants to put people in control of their personal data. He has technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. Can he succeed?
“Pods,” personal online data stores, are a key technical ingredient to achieve that goal. The idea is that each person could control his or her own data — websites visited, credit card purchases, workout routines, music streamed — in an individual data safe, typically a sliver of server space.
Companies could gain access to a person’s data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific task like processing a loan application or delivering a personalized ad. They could link to and use personal information selectively, but not store it.
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