Category Archives: Decentralized Web

DWeb Camp Q & A with Mozilla’s Liz Henry

DWeb Camp is going on from July 18-21 in Pescadero, CA.

Senior Release Manager, Mozilla
Co-founder, Double Union Feminist Hackerspace

Q: What excites you most about the decentralized web?

A: I like the idea of strengthening peer to peer connections that are hard for well established organizations, like states or corporations or even publishing houses, to control.

I’d rather see a billion small networks than one, or a few, overarching controlled platforms. Or, to put it differently, we might do well to have both – Sidewalks are great, but we need more cracks in the sidewalk for good weeds to flourish and for rain to get into the water table.

Q: What is the need to create a decentralized web critical in nature?

A: Currently there is a strong narrative of the need for control, for taming, for filtering, and rules and that means centralizing a lot of things that may already be a little too controlled and centralized. The decentralized web is a possible counter narrative.

Here are a few examples I don’t see mentioned often in these discussions: we need this for feminist organizing. We already need it and will increasingly need it for information (and organizing) about birth control, menstrual extraction, reproductive health of all kinds, and abortion. We have also learned the value of being able to privately share information in our local communities. We need it to evade destructive and ridiculous copyright laws, as well!

Q: What will you be speaking about at the conference?

A: I’m always happy to speak about those things, or about accessibility and disability justice related issues. But, what I’m actually planning to talk about is the projects I’m working on for the camp — a zine about the history of the land and the farm, which I’ll be handing out at DWeb, and a text adventure game written in Inform7 that’s set in DWeb itself. I have the framework of the game ready and will add to it during the Camp, inviting contributions from others to make it weird, fun, informative, and exciting.

Thanks Danny! See everyone at DWeb Camp on July 18th!

DWeb Camp Preview

By Will Howes

DWeb camp 2019 is less than a week away and with new events being added to the schedule every day (available here) there’s no shortage of things to be excited about.

There is something for everybody. In no particular order of importance, here are just a handful of the events I’m most excited about:

Yisi Liu, CTO, Dimension
Yisi Liu, CTO, Dimension

Yisi Liu – Lightning Talk: Enhanced Privacy with Decentralized Identity

This talk is rather straight-forward: Yisi Liu looks to discuss today’s online privacy and identity issues, and to propose his solution for a privacy-focused internet. A former natural language processing researcher, Liu has seen first hand the double-edged user data can be in the wrong hands. I’m hoping to hear more about how his exciting work on the Maskbook project comes into play, but regardless Liu will no doubt brings an interesting perspective to the privacy debate.

Mark Nadal, Founder, GUN
Mark Nadal, Founder, GUN

Mark Nadal – Lightning Talk: Scaling Decentralization: 2M+ Monthly Users on GUN protocol

The GUN protocol is a decentralized data storage protocol with a specialization in real time data synchronization. Perhaps most importantly, the GUN documentation declares that it “just works” and you know what, I can get behind that. In his talk, Mark Nadal will be giving a rundown of the different technology behind GUN that allows for scalability in a decentralized environment. I hope to come away from the presentation with a better understanding of GUN’s place in the dweb space and where it would make sense to put it to use in a project of my own.

Paul Frazee, Co-Creator, Beaker Browser
Paul Frazee, Co-Creator, Beaker Browser

Paul Frazee – Lightning Talk: Web Crawlers in the Browser

I haven’t thought much about what a search engine might look like in a decentralized internet, but Paul Frazee certainly has. One of the beaker browser’s co-founders, Paul will be talking about the power a browser-embedded web crawler can have for personal search engines and beyond. Having read many of Paul’s beaker-related blog posts, I’m excited to learn whatever he has to share with the rest of camp.

Feross Aboukhadijeh, Founder, WebTorrent
Feross Aboukhadijeh, Founder, WebTorrent

Feross Aboukhadijeh – Lightning Talk: What I Learned from WebTorrent

BitTorrent was my first introduction peer-to-peer technology, as I’m sure was the case for many others. So when I heard about WebTorrent, a streaming torrent client written entirely in Javascript, I was smitten. In this talk, WebTorrent-developer Feross Aboukhadijeh will walk the audience through his experience of developing WebTorrent and explain what his project got right (and what it got wrong). With his priority being to help as many people as possible, a deeper look into Feross’ development process will be uniquely insightful and uplifting.

Margaret Warren, Founder, Image Snippets
Margaret Warren, Founder, Image Snippets

Margaret Warren – Build a Linked Data ImageGraph

This project will provide a demonstration of the power of using RDF Graph to map offline spaces. Margaret Warren will be showing participants how they can contribute to a web of images being constructed throughout the event, something she calls an “image graph.” By adhering to the FAIR principles and through the use of RDF graphs, the end result will be a metadata-driven image collection that will share the stories of DWeb camp 2019 long after its completion. Get ready for metadata madness, through and through.

Sergey Ivliev, Director, Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain Systems Lab
Sergey Ivliev, Director, Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain Systems Lab

Sergey Ivliev – Lightning Talk: Formalizing Unique Identity on the Internet

During his talk on digital identity, Sergey Ivliev will not be pulling any punches. He’s going to give the audience an overview of what solutions have been conceptualized, why he considers them to be inadequate and thirdly his own proposal as to how we should identify ourselves in a digital space. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with his perspective, I think Sergey will contribute a lot of important talking points to the discussion as a whole.

Dawn Walker, Hypha Worker Co-operative
Dawn Walker, Hypha Worker Co-operative

Dawn Walker – Lightning Talk: Resourcing Values in Design

Concerned with the morality of technology used by Facebook and Google? If you’re attending DWeb 2019, that’s probably a safe assumption. In her talk, Dawn Walker will offer a brief overview of the strategies one can use when personal values are the driving-force behind technological design, as well as what keeping those values in mind during the design process actually looks like. Being unfamiliar with this approach to design, I’m excited to learn more.

noffle, Cabal
noffle, Cabal

Noffle – Fire by Friction Workshop

Whether you’re a DWeb attendee looking to relax or recently-thawed caveman searching for that next big evolutionary step, the answer is always fire. With their trusty bow drill and a 6000+ year old technique, Noffle is prepared to participants how to turn that cold pile of brush into a roaring flame. Even if I can’t get an ember churning on the first go, I’m looking forward to walking away with an understanding of the physics behind the technique and a respect for the ancient origins of the skill.

Studio Ghibli Movie Nights

Any film lovers in attendance might like to know that, among other activities, a movie will be shown each night in the following order: Thursday is My Neighbor Totoro, Friday is Wall-E and Saturday is Spirited Away. Having (embarrassingly) never seen a Studio Ghibli movie before, I’m excited to finally get the chance.

SEE YOU AT DWeb Camp!

DWeb Camp Q & A with the EFF’s Danny O’Brien

DWeb Camp is going on from July 18-21 in Pescadero, CA.

Q: What excites you most about the decentralized web?

A: The Internet for me has always been a vision of autonomy among equals — being able to create, share and communicate with your peers as quickly and easily as possible.

Danny O’Brien, Director of Strategy, EFF

Somehow, so much of that communication now goes through a handful of chokepoints: silos where the data of our lives goes in, but never escapes.

Decentralizing — or re-decentralizing — the Web, is about continuing the project, after a brief diversion into the Google/Amazon/Facebook world.

Q: Why is the need to create a distributed web critical in nature?

A: I think if all the world’s communications are filtered through a handful of institutions — whatever those institutions are — it’s going to get distorted. We need to be able to communicate clearly, and as equals.

Q: Will you be speaking at the conference? What about?

A: Well, mainly I’m hoping to listen. But if you grab me, I’ll be talking about the changing tone of public debate (and how it compares to the post-revolutionary America and France), adversarial interoperability, lessons we can learn from the P2P wars, and what happens when regulators aim at Facebook and hit the Dweb.

EFF will be out in force, too — we’ll have folks to speak from all sides of the organization, from tech, law, and activism.

Thanks Danny! See everyone at DWeb Camp on July 18th!