Die Zukunft des Internet in der Identity Economy

Von Ralf Keuper

Die Datenökonomie wird vor allem deshalb von nur wenigen Unternehmen bzw. digitalen Plattformen beherrscht, da das Internet über keinen Identity Layer verfügt. Wäre dem so, dann müssten wir uns nicht jedesmal, wenn wir einen Dienst nutzen wollen, mit einem Benutzernamen und einem Passwort anmelden oder aber das Social Login von Google oder Facebook nutzen. Weiterhin hätten wir Einfluss darauf, wer auf unsere Daten zugreifen darf. So wie das Internet derzeit organisiert ist, besteht wenig Hoffnung darauf, dass wir als Nutzer die Hoheit über unsere Daten und Digitalen Identitäten zurückgewinnen. Warum das so ist und welche Alternativen bestehen, beschreibt Steven Johnson in Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble.

Steven Johnson ist einigen vielleicht durch sein Buch Wo gute Ideen herkommen. Eine kurze Geschichte der Innovation bekannt.

Anders als der Titel es vermuten lässt, dreht es sich in dem Beitrag kaum bis gar nicht um Bitcoin, sondern um die Blockchain-Technologie. Johnson teilt die Geschichte des Internet in die Phasen Internet.One und Internet.Two auf.

Das Internet.One

The first layer — call it InternetOne — was founded on open protocols, which in turn were defined and maintained by academic researchers and international-standards bodies, owned by no one. In fact, that original openness continues to be all around us, in ways we probably don’t appreciate enough. Email is still based on the open protocols POP, SMTP and IMAP; websites are still served up using the open protocol HTTP; bits are still circulated via the original open protocols of the internet, TCP/IP. You don’t need to understand anything about how these software conventions work on a technical level to enjoy their benefits. The key characteristic they all share is that anyone can use them, free of charge. You don’t need to pay a licensing fee to some corporation that owns HTTP if you want to put up a web page; you don’t have to sell a part of your identity to advertisers if you want to send an email using SMTP. Along with Wikipedia, the open protocols of the internet constitute the most impressive example of commons-based production in human history.

Dann kam, wenn man so will, der Sündenfall des Internet, das Internet.Two:

The open, decentralized web turns out to be alive and well on the InternetOne layer. But since we settled on the World Wide Web in the mid-’90s, we’ve adopted very few new open-standard protocols. The biggest problems that technologists tackled after 1995 — many of which revolved around identity, community and payment mechanisms — were left to the private sector to solve. This is what led, in the early 2000s, to a powerful new layer of internet services, which we might call InternetTwo.

Ist die Entwicklung damit abgeschlossen, wird das Internet also auch künftig von wenigen Anbietern dominiert, können Regulierung und Kartellrecht daran etwas ändern?

So how can you get meaningful adoption of base-layer protocols in an age when the big tech companies have already attracted billions of users and collectively sit on hundreds of billions of dollars in cash? If you happen to believe that the internet, in its current incarnation, is causing significant and growing harm to society, then this seemingly esoteric problem — the difficulty of getting people to adopt new open-source technology standards — turns out to have momentous consequences. If we can’t figure out a way to introduce new, rival base-layer infrastructure, then we’re stuck with the internet we have today. The best we can hope for is government interventions to scale back the power of Facebook or Google, or some kind of consumer revolt that encourages that marketplace to shift to less hegemonic online services, the digital equivalent of forswearing big agriculture for local farmers’ markets. Neither approach would upend the underlying dynamics of InternetTwo.

Braucht es einen neuen Wurf? Könnte die Blockchain-Technologie die Lösung sein? Letztlich dreht sich alles um die Digitalen Identitäten:

The true test of the blockchain will revolve — like so many of the online crises of the past few years — around the problem of identity. Today your digital identity is scattered across dozens, or even hundreds, of different sites: Amazon has your credit-card information and your purchase history; Facebook knows your friends and family; Equifax maintains your credit history. When you use any of those services, you are effectively asking for permission to borrow some of that information about yourself in order perform a task: ..  But all these different fragments of your identity don’t belong to you; they belong to Facebook and Amazon and Google, who are free to sell bits of that information about you to advertisers without consulting you.

Mit der Blockchain-Technologie könnte sich das ändern:

You should own your digital identity — which could include everything from your date of birth to your friend networks to your purchasing history — and you should be free to lend parts of that identity out to services as you see fit.

Weiteres wichtige Elemente sind die Token Architecture und Open ID Standards:

Perhaps someday, every single person on the planet might use that standard to map their social connections, just as every single person on the internet uses TCP/IP to share data. But even if this new form of identity became ubiquitous, it wouldn’t present the same opportunities for abuse and manipulation that you find in the closed systems that have become de facto standards. ..  An open identity standard would give ordinary people the opportunity to sell their attention to the highest bidder, or choose to keep it out of the marketplace altogether. ..

The token architecture would give a blockchain-based identity standard an additional edge over closed standards like Facebook’s. A token-based social network would at least give early adopters a piece of the action, rewarding them for their labors in making the new platform appealing.

Damit würden sich die Spielregeln der Plattformökonomie ändern und die Identity Economy oder, wie Johnson es nennt, die Token Economy, an ihre Stelle treten, sie zumindest ergänzen.

Dieser Beitrag wurde unter Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology, Digitale Identitäten, Identity Economy veröffentlicht. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink.

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