Berners-Lee Internet inventor regrets debasement of world wide web

Sir Tim Berners Lee

Sir Tim was speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon Credit AP

On Monday, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, promoted the idea with his unveiling of the "Contract for the Web", an effort to get society committed to protecting the internet for the good of all.

While at the conference, Tim Berners-Lee unveiled a complete set of principles that can help define responsibilities that he hopes, will guide governments, companies and citizens towards creating a better version of the web. The contract is published by the World Wide Web Foundation - also founded by Berners-Lee.

"We've lost control of our personal data and that data is being weaponised against us".

Despite the challenges, Berners-Lee said he was optimistic about the future of the internet. 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.

The news comes days after London-born computer scientist Berners-Lee - credited for helping to invent the web in 1989 - voiced his disappointment with the current state of the internet, following scandals describing abuse of personal data and the use of social media to spread hate. However, during the unveiling of the contract, Google vice president Jacquelline Fuller said: "We all need to come together".

When we put the question to Berners-Lee as to who else he would like to see join the list of signatories for the contract, he didn't play favorites.

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Last week, Berners-Lee told Reuters that giant tech corporations like Google and Facebook may have to be "broken up" to mitigate the "danger of concentration". "But people have become disillusioned because of all the things they see in the headlines".

The French government, Google, and Facebook have said that they back the proposal, the Web Foundation reports - especially the right to privacy and the guarantee that anyone should be able to connect to the Web.

The two firms now have direct influence over almost three-quarters of all internet traffic thanks to the vast amounts of apps and services they own such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The contract he put forward on Monday is a framework for doing that, and is created to be a serious commitment by the citizens, governments and companies that sign up to it. "Women and girls are much less likely to have access (to the internet)". However, as the Web increases in power, this is having the unintended outcome of increasing the digital divide, Berners-Lee argued.

However, as the Web approaches nearly 50% of the world's population as users, Berners-Lee is not convinced that these principles are being upheld or that his original ideals for the Web are being protected.

One serves as a reminder that the freedom we enjoy on the Internet today will always be in the crosshairs of those who seek power and profit.

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