The Web has moved through two stages so far with Web 1.0 basically as a set of static pages and Web 2.0 characterised as the age of interactivity and participation. Web 3.0, according to Bradley Kirkland, CEO of Stone Soup Tech Solutions, can be best characterised by its semantic, behavioural, and contextual search, curated content, and engaged communication.
As the next evolution of the Web, Web 3.0 moves away from centralised data archives to a more open and decentralised use of data that embraces the ideas of the blockchain, with data using strong encryption shared on a case-by-case basis.
The Semantic Web
Currently, the content on the billions of web pages that constitute the Web has no meaning to the search engines that index their contents. Search engines use keywords embedded in each page of each website to surface content to users that may be relevant to the information they want. This means that search engines cannot interpret the context of the content they index.
The Semantic Web is thus designed to provide context and a deeper understanding of each page and is the next logical step in the web’s evolution and could open a whole new world of information gathering, exchange and analysis.
The concept of the Semantic Web is the brainchild of the original creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He released his paper ‘The Semantic Web’ in 2001 and explained that the idea behind the Semantic Web is to weave a Web that will not only link documents to each other but will also recognise the meaning of the information in those documents.
This vision of a Semantic Web involves a universal library which can readily be accessed and used while serving as the backbone for software or computational agents to utilise autonomously and to perform and anticipate activities. “The Semantic Web will bring structure to the meaningful content of Web pages, creating an environment where software agents roaming from page to page can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users” (Berners-Lee et al. 2001).
For consumers and businesses alike, this could open a whole new channel where data has value but also a meaning and context that machines can understand. The practical result is better, safer services for everyone.
Data collection and security
The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the magnitude of data collection essential for the development of AI systems, which will refine search results far more accurately. To date masses of personal information are in the hands of a few large companies, and security concerns around this are unlikely to disappear. Personal data security is a major issue for businesses and consumers, particularly as attitudes towards the exchange of information for goods and services evolve.
Professor Kevin Curran at Ulster University states: “I cannot say for sure that data security would be enhanced with the open, decentralised networks that Web 3.0 envisages,” explains. “There are benefits with regards to security when you move to decentralised architectures, but on the other hand, there are also negatives”.
Jake Moore, cyber security specialist believes that Web 3.0 “isn’t yet defined” but that it shows that “security must be at the forefront and not an afterthought. Web 3.0 can be likened to an artificial intelligence assistant that understands its user and personalises everything. But to do this, it needs a plethora of personal data and habits which becomes an ever-increasing treasure trove for criminal hackers.”
There are definite risks and advantages as the Web becomes more intelligent. The desire to deliver more meaning to users in a safe environment must be balanced against the protection of the personal data of organisations’ customers if they are to maintain trust and their commercial relationships on a smarter Web.
Sites fit for Web 3.0
Potentially governments and companies can learn more about an individual in real time and with immense depth as he or she browses the new Web 3.0. This is big data, driven by the cloud and with the mobile device which gathers, stores, accesses, and transfers this information. Such data can be extremely valuable to the avaricious cybercriminal.
A more intelligent web is inevitable and as more devices collect valuable information about individuals, their behaviour and their environment, security methodologies will also radically change. Businesses that make their services Web 3.0 oriented early in the web’s development will cement their place in a future web ecosystem.
Cybersecurity and Web 3.0
Despite the benefits to all that Web 3.0 brings there are tremendous risks around issues such as data control, privacy, ownership, security, and privacy. Verification and validation practices become crucial. A pillar of good information security is a viable cloud strategy which incorporates the mobile and businesses need to think about continuous monitoring. Installing advanced logging, deep packet inspection and file integrity monitoring.
Finally, in a Web 3.0 world, organisations must take a more holistic approach to security across the board, from cloud to endpoint, and tie physical and cyber security together.
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