Smith, Daniel Alexander, Van Kleek, Max, Seneviratne, Oshani, schraefel, m.c., Bertails, Alexandre, Berners-Lee, Tim, Hall, Wendy and Shadbolt, Nigel
WebBox: Supporting Decentralised and Privacy-respecting Micro-sharing with Existing Web Standards University of Southampton
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The popularity and plurality of social sharing and collaboration platforms today demonstrates the demand for sharing information at a wide variety of granularities and scale — from public blogging of micro-data (e.g., microblogging posts, page “Likes”, and place-“check-ins”) to specific, full-on collaborative sharing of documents and projects. The centralised and fragmented nature of today’s sharing platforms, however, creates several problems, among which include issues of seamless access, ownership, and control. In this paper, we present an alternative approach that puts the user back in control over their data, and supports secure, private sharing and collaboration in a distributed, user-centric manner “out of the box”. This approach represents a novel configuration of Web-standard, non-novel components, which we demonstrate are sufficiently generic to support types of sharing offered by the most popular sharing platforms today. By offering a standards-compliant method of globally sharing triples, with known semantics about how they are received, our approach enables social applications to utilise the Web as the distributed system it has always promised to be. Beyond such sharing, we discuss what other capabilities such a platform enables, and its implication for future Web architectures and tools.
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