Berners-Lee Internet inventor regrets debasement of world wide web

Doris Richards
November 7, 2018

"Everything we do ... to make the web more powerful, it means we increase the digital divide", Berners-Lee, 63, told the opening of the ninth edition of the Web Summit, dubbed "the Davos for geeks", that attracts up to 70,000 people.

But what really got people talking was the first talk from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web nearly thirty years ago.

Under the principles laid out in the document, which Berners-Lee calls a "Magna Carta for the web", governments must ensure that its citizens have access to all of the internet, all of the time, and that their privacy is respected so they can be online "freely, safely and without fear".

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who's regarded as the inventor of the internet, reckons the web has undergone a "big change" since he created it 30 years ago.

However, in his view, they "suggest some concerns", particularly in issues such as privacy and online security, which he pointed out showing images of fake profiles on social networks and manipulation on the internet.

We need a new Contract for the Web, with clear and tough responsibilities for those who have the power to make it better.

The Contract released by the World Wide Web Foundation requires all governments to treat privacy as a fundamental human right. It's already amassed a wealth of supporters, including Google, Facebook, Innovation Award victor and Young Global Leader honoree Mariéme Jamme, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, and many more. He believes there is a growing sense that it is failing to live up to its promise and has called on all of us to stand up and fight for the web we want.


"I certainly had a strong sense. of the extraordinary weight on one individual's shoulders, which you sense was not something he probably aspired to". It's a remarkable responsibility, and one that he and other leaders are expected to take very seriously.

The web was created to bring people together and make knowledge freely available.

One of the early signatories to the contract, Facebook, has been fined by the Information Commissioner's Office for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal; has faced threats from the European Union for taking too long to remove extremist content; and has been sued for allowing advertisers to target housing ads only at white people.

Berners-Lee has has been highly critical of Facebook and Google and their impact on the web. "Women and girls are much less likely to have access (to the internet)".

The contract, Lovett said, is only the first of several stages.

It all sounds a little quixotic and vague, but Lovett thinks there will be tangible results. All in all, he feels that the Internet has to be saved from itself - so Berners-Lee is now trying to rally companies, governments, and citizens to the cause.

"The criticism that this could just be happy-clappy would be justified if we were going to just stop next week". And this must be a contract with several principles for people to join in. "The process we have at the second stage is to turn these principles into more concrete commitments. the third stage of the process would be an accountability mechanism".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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