Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Tim Berners-Lee Pushes For 'Contract' To Protect the 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
Troy Mann | 09 November, 2018, 20:58

Tim Berners-Lee, better known as the inventor of the World Wide Web, has revealed a global mission to protect the internet from threats such as fake news, political manipulation, and other forms of abuse, as reported by The Guardian. Speaking at the Web Summit 2018 in Portugal, the British tech genius recounted how he envisaged the Internet as being a platform for sharing information, but the current use of the Internet has digressed from the initial vision that its founders had in mind nearly 30 years ago.

"The technology will she kill democracy?", "Building trust in the age of disinformation", "A free and open internet is not possible any more": the disillusionment digital has emerged as a major theme at the Web Summit that opens Monday night in Lisbon.

And people won't just "hoard" their data once they have dominion over it, Berners-Lee said.

Since the World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners back when he was working at CERN; the Internet has seen many trends and radical shifts.

Since its inception, Sir Tim Berner's Lee has been a proponent of the free and open nature of the web, and has often warned against complacency in protecting it. 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. "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.

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"We have to create a contract for the web ..."

Berners-Lee said governments, companies and individual internet users had a role to play. Overall, they say the products they've worked on have grown to become addictive and harmful to society.

The French government and internet giants Google and Facebook back the principles of the proposed contract, such as respect for people's right to privacy and guarantees that everyone can connect to the internet, according to his Web Foundation. The two firms collectively control over three-quarters of all internet traffic through their apps, such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram. For example, one principle holds that companies "respect consumers' privacy and personal data", which is a very noble goal that I wholeheartedly support - but one that's extremely hard to quantify and thus extremely tricky from a legal point of view.

Until now, many prominent organizations and individuals have already signed the contract. The contract means a real commitment to dignity, justice and equality from governments, companies and citizens. Depending on where you live, you've likely seen your government make some dubious-if-not-outright (far-right?) authoritarian choices in regard to how the Internet works. Those of us who are online are seeing our rights and freedoms threatened.

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