Web 3.0 is on the horizon and is promising an overhaul of the way that we interact on the web. In the early 2000s, Web 2.0 saw us move from mainly static web pages (Web 1.0) to interactive web applications and the rise of social media. Web 3.0 is currently being defined.
It appears the major innovation that will be heralded by this web 3.0 is that the users will be expected to manage access to the data. The idea is that the goal would be for everyone to manage which organizations have access to their data and revoke access if they see fit. This accounting of access granted will be accomplished through blockchain technology.
It seems that the main benefit of this change will be for the big tech companies. This change will reduce their liability for data breaches since users control their own data. It could also lead to micropayments from corporations for access to your data.
The problem is that the relationship between big tech and the users is not equal. The power rests with the tech companies since users don’t often have any alternative. If you want a phone, it’s either Apple or Google. For social media, it’s either Facebook or Twitter.
A good analog is phone app permissions. Apps are required to request permissions to access the user’s camera, contacts, calendar, etc. They often request and are granted by the phone user unreasonable and unnecessary privileges. The users are generally unable to understand the minimum permissions an app should have to accomplish its tasks. The user just wants to use the application and will generally grant any permissions necessary to make that happen.
Web 3.0 could usher in much-needed curtailing of big tech companies’ power. If data and protocols are genuinely open, then it will be possible for small and medium companies to compete with larger companies. Currently, much of the tech income is concentrated in just five mega-corporations, often referred to as FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google).