Tim Berners-Lee Is Going To Change The Internet; Again

07 November, 2018, 22:01 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • AFP | Web pioneer Berners Lee said'all kinds of things have gone wrong with the internet

It asks that governments ensure all citizens can connect to the internet, that companies respect consumers' privacy and personal data and that citizens create "rich and relevant content for everyone". Berners-Lee confessed he's "increasingly worried" about how the Web is evolving.

Berners-Lee spoke in Lisbon Monday at a web summit and lamented the widespread abuse many users have turned the internet.

"All kinds of things have gone wrong".

He now called for a "contract" to make internet safe and accessible for everyone as Europe's largest tech event began in Lisbon, Portugal amid a backlash over its role in spreading "fake news".

The initiative has already secured backing from over 50 organisations, including the French government, civil society organisations such as Access Now, Internet Sans Frontières, Project Isizwe, NewNow and the Digital Empowerment Foundation, as well as companies including Google, AnchorFree, Facebook and Cloudflare.

So the web really is a public good that puts people first. "More than half the world's population remains offline, and the rate of new people getting connected is slowing", said Berners-Lee in a statement.

"This is a contract to make the web one which serves humanity, science, knowledge and democracy", he said.

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The former United Kingdom prime minister Gordon Brown has added his signature to the contract. "Tim Berners-Lee has pinpointed one of the great human rights issues of our time and his proposal deserves worldwide support", he said.

Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard University and author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It said: "To me, the most important function of the contract is to remind people that the web we have isn't the only one possible".

Berners-Lee concedes it will be hard to measure the success of the contract, which will be promoted through a campaign called #ForTheWeb.

Unfortunately, Berners-Lee reveals that it will be hard to see the contract's success.

Google, who also signed early, is supposedly censoring its search engines for a Chinese market. It's a delicate balancing act, but limiting some freedoms could end up creating a fairer, more open Web.

The Case for the Web report which outlines these principles, also talks about the need for urgent action to combat a slew of issues including and I quote "hate speech, data privacy, political manipulation and the centralisation of power online among a small group of companies". "We believe it offers an important opportunity to step back and examine the responsibilities we all have to make sure the web delivers on its promise", a spokesperson said. 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 Web Foundation says that most people who aren't yet online live in poor countries.

"If we spend a certain amount of time using the internet we have to spend a little proportion of that time defending it, worrying about it, looking out for it..."

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