Fujitsu and the Japanese university want an “acknowledgment layer” for the Internet • The register

Fujitsu and Japan’s Keio University have proposed adding a “confirmation layer” to the Internet to verify information and prevent the flow of fake news and disinformation.

The need for such a shift is explained in a white paper and accompanying video published on Thursday.

The video describes a scenario in which a social media user posts an image of what appear to be unusual amounts of dirty brown water spilling over a dam’s spillway into a river, believing that a flood is imminent. The scenario assumes the post is believed to be true – causing fear among local residents, possible hoarding or even an inappropriate response from emergency services.

The endorsement layer envisaged by the authors would search the internet for authoritative data sources such as water level sensors. Users viewing a post about a possible flood could request access to such data, which would be published by the confirmation layer. A more informed reader would therefore know not to raid supermarkets for a year’s worth of toilet paper, and emergency services would conserve their resources for more urgent tasks.

The proposal assumes that the endorsement layer will not rely on a single sensor or source of information, but will provide users with the ability to add data to the endorsement layer. The result would theoretically be “a confirmation graph with a data structure expressing the connection between additional information associated with the data”.

The content and recommendations from the recommendation graph would be overlaid on the web or apps so users could understand the context of what they are seeing. Browser extensions that allow users to filter information from the confirmation graph to meet their needs are suggested as a possible improvement.

“This should make it possible to prevent the use of unreliable data and the renewed dissemination of disinformation and fake news,” the white paper states, adding: “In addition, by expanding the scope of judgment, the scale of economic and social activities will be expanded and the best method to be realized in society.”

Which is perhaps a little too optimistic, but the prospect of the “trustworthy internet” is not. The authors note that the World Wide Web Consortium has already proposed a verifiable data model for credentials, the EU is working on a digital identity architecture and reference framework, and that Hyperledger Indy could help the Linux Foundation determine the identity of the attestation contributors and to check graph.

Of course, the idea of ​​a trustworthy Internet is still years away from becoming a reality. And the paper does not address the question of how to get internet users to trust the trusted internet – certainly a significant problem when conspiratorial thinking is prominent and trust in institutions is low. ® Fujitsu and the Japanese university want an “acknowledgment layer” for the Internet • The register

Rick Schindler

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