Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024
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Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2020-04
End: 2022-10

Solid-NextCloud app

Bridge Nextcloud to Solid

This project connects the world of Solid with the world of Nextcloud. The aim is to develop an open source Nextcloud app that turns a Nextcloud server into a spec-compliant Solid server. It gives every user a WebID profile and allows Solid apps to store data on the user's Nextcloud account. It also exposes some of the user's existing Nextcloud data like contacts and calendar events as Solid user data, so that Solid apps can interact with the user's Nextcloud data, and allow the user to manage which Solid apps can access which specific aspects of the user's personal data. We will make our implementation compatible with the latest version of the Solid spec (including DPop tokens and the WebSockets AUTH command), and contribute the surface tests we create for this as a well-documented independent test-suite, for other Solid server implementers to benefit from. We will also publish a stand-alone version of our PHP components, which can run independently of Nextcloud.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

In the 'real world', you instinctively know what information you should keep behind locked doors and what is safe to share. Your bank statements are stored in a folder somewhere in the attic instead of leaving them laying around on your kitchen table. You do not tell random people on the street what your phone number is, or where your children go to school. In the virtual world, this type of common sense can work differently.

Users are quicker to trust service providers to keep their personal data safe from theft and prying eyes, and do not always see the dangers of storing passwords in an online text file, or sharing sensitive financial documents via email. The dangers are unmistakably there, but until someone close to you suffers the consequences of a hack or a privacy breach, the risks of online data storage are vague and its convenience is too tempting to pass up.

People are accustomed to easy, accessible and convenient online tools and services. More private and secure open-source alternatives should not exclude users because of an overly technical setup or incompatibility with existing proprietary solutions.

Solid (or Social Linked Data) is a new approach to protecting personal data initiated by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web and developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project aims to give users back full control over their personal data, which they can store in personal online data stores (or pods) and then give applications that run on the Solid platform access rights as they see fit. Users always retain ownership over their data, decide for themselves where it is stored and can change the permissions of any application that can access the data. Eventually the Solid ecosystem should offer decentralized and user-centric alternatives to centralized social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etcetera.

Nextcloud is an open source file hosting (cloud) solution that follows the same principles as the Solid project: users are in control over their data, where it is stored, and who can access it. This project will draw a bridge these two efforts and create a Nextcloud app that converts a Nextcloud-account to a Solid-identity. This combines the strengths of both projects, allowing users even more precise control over which people and organizations can access their private data.

Run by Unhosted

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.