Berners-Lee Internet inventor regrets debasement of world wide web

AFP | Web pioneer Berners Lee said'all kinds of things have gone wrong with the internet

AFP | Web pioneer Berners Lee said'all kinds of things have gone wrong with the internet

The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, on Monday announced plans for a "contract" to ensure the internet remains "safe and accessible" for all.

Berners-Lee said the full terms of the contract would be agreed in the coming months, with the objective to finalize it in May 2019 - the 50/50 moment when more than half of the world's population will be online for the first time.

Already Google and Facebook have signed up for Berners-Lee's "contract for the web".

"Despite all the good we have accomplished, the web has become a machine to create inequalities and divisions, influenced by powerful forces who use it for their own purposes", says Tim Berners-Lee on the web site Inrupt.

So that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can participate actively online.

Respect people's fundamental right to privacy so everyone can use the internet freely, safely and without fear.

The Web Foundation said the majority of people not online live in poor countries and it criticised the fact that "billions of people" access the internet "through a small handful of huge companies".

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Berners-Lee told the opening of the Europe's largest technology conference that everyone had assumed his breakthrough in 1989, that connected humanity to technology, would lead to good things - and it had for a while. SEE: IT pro's guide to GDPR compliance (free PDF) Individual web users are urged to be creators and collaborators on the web, to build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity, and to fight for the web to remain open.Many of these principles seem to run contrary to how the web is now treated. It's important to fight for an internet that is "a global public resource for people everywhere".

The distributed power of the web has shifted to lay in the hands of just a few, online abuse is on the rise, and the content we see is increasingly susceptible to manipulation.

Several news reports cite the 63-year-old MIT professor as pointing to information leaks from Facebook, which saw almost 90 million of its users' personal data compromised, as an example of a handful of tech giants having too much power.

In the Summit, Tim asked for all the government authorities, companies and individuals to back his project. The genie may seem to have come out of the bottle, but the internet has surprised us many times.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) being built upon easy, open access to the internet, the possibility of such traffic being throttled or blocked, and related businesses potentially being held to ransom for greater networking fees, introduces great uncertainty.

It is in this context that the creator defends this "contract", which has the motto "By the Web" (or as hashtag '#fortheweb), in order to create values of equity and safety for all internet users.

"People in the big companies are concerned about truth and democracy".

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