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Largest self-hosted content solution becomes portable personal data vault

Open source Nextcloud now compatible with upcoming web technology Solid

New open source technology developed with support from NLnet foundation and the European Next Generation Internet iniative allows to turn servers providing the widely popular open source Nextcloud content solution into decentralized Solid data stores that shift control over data access to its owners. Solid (or Social Linked Data) is a new approach to deal with personal information initiated by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web. The goal of Solid is to give people back full control over their personal data, which they can store in personal online data stores (or "pods") and then give applications that are compatible with the upcoming Solid standard access as they see fit. Eventually the Solid ecosystem should offer user-centric alternatives to centralized information management solutions.

To use an online service or install an app, you usually have to hand over your future data for it to work. Data is at that point essentially kept hostage, says Michiel Leenaars, director of Strategy at NLnet Foundation. This rigid exchange of data for service limits consumer freedom, monopolises innovation to a small set of actors and creates unnecessary risks — not only for theft or abuse, but also surveillance. As more organizations and public institutions (health care for example) come online and need to engage with personal information in different ways, citizens deserve adequate control over who gets to know what about their lives, identity and interactions.

One promising way to break through the privacy and security deadlock is the open source project Personal Data Stores Interoperability (PDS Interop), which bridges the popular open Nextcloud platform with the vision of private data storage of Solid. PDS Interop essentially turns a Nextcloud-server into a Solid-server. An estimated 400.000 servers worldwide currently use Nextcloud to store and manage data. By installing the free module these servers can be turned into compliant Solid-servers that can immediately use the decentralized Solid-apps that only request access to your data, instead of taking it entirely.

It could be the way Solid takes off, to start something with all the external users just becoming Solid-users too, commented web-inventor and Solid-director Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the Solid World April-conference.So that bootstrap could be a really important part of the way Solid takes off.

The team that created PDS Interop is made up of experienced free and open source software creators and includes among others Michiel de Jong who was the leading developer behind the remoteStorage protocol. The CEO of Nextcloud Frank Karlitschek called the community effort a big win-win situation for both projects, enabling many other organizations to deliver practical, ethical solutions to citizens all over the globe and bringing decentralization back to the web.

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About NLnet Foundation

NLnet Foundation is an independent organisation whose means come from donations and legacies. The history of NLnet goes back to 1982 when a group of Europeans led by former NLnet director and member of the Internet Hall of Fame Teus Hagen announced the European Unix Network (EUnet) which became the first public wide area network in Europe and the place where Internet was introduced to Europe. NLnet also pioneered the worlds first dial-in and ISDN infrastructure with full country coverage.

Its private capital ensures an absolute independent position. The articles of association for the NLnet Foundation state:"to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose". NLnet's core business is to support independent organizations and people that contribute to an open information society and to a safe, secure and open Internet.

A number of times a year NLnet organises a worldwide open call for projects to be supported. The long list of NLnet-funded projects includes ARPA2, Corteza, Cryptpad, EteSync, GNUnet, IRMA, Jitsi, Koruza, Libre SoC, NoScript, PeerTube, postmarketOS, Software Heritage, Qubes and Wireguard.

For further information contact NLnet

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