The web's creator says


The web's creator says

In a blog post marking the world wide web's 29th birthday, Sir Tim also suggested that the best way to stop this happening might be through regulation.

In an open letter on the World Wide Web Foundation website, the father of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, urged the tech industry and users to fix the internet's bugs. In the letter, he outlined what he thinks we need to do to save the Web from the concentration of power of a "few dominant platforms" that has "made it possible to weaponize the Web at scale".

Berners-Lee points out that these key companies control which "ideas and options are seen and shared" at a key point in history, with the number of people with internet access globally to exceed 50 per cent for the first time in 2018, in line with the United Nations declaration that using the net is a basic human right. Unsurprisingly, you're more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, live in a rural area or a low-income country, or some combination of the above. While the United Nations has declared internet access as a human right, mobile internet still isn't affordable in many developing countries which deprives many off the opportunities to learn and access valuable services.

At the current rate the internet inventor says that the last billion will only be connected to the internet by 2042. That's an entire generation left behind.

In his 2017 letter, Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned of the fake news threat and that people are losing control of their personal data.

The solution, writes Berners-Lee, is a "legal or regulatory framework" that "accounts for "social objectives". While this is the year we'll pass the tipping point where over half the world's population is online, a big question mark remains on how the second part joins the party - assuming it remains an aspiration worth keeping.

In many African countries, for example, 1GB of mobile broadband data cost more than 10 percent of the average income, according to a 2016 survey by the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Then, he's saying we must "make the web work for people", which means dominant platforms should make an effort not to "choke" the little guy.

Berners-Lee's advice for Zuckerberg and the owners of Facebook's rival platforms: Rethink your profit model.

Two myths now limit our collective imagination: the myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it's too late to change the way platforms operate.

The creator says that the web of today is very different from what he created.

Securing these internet connections is important to Berners-Lee, because "the future of the web isn't just about those of us who are online today, but also those yet to connect".

Ultimately, Berners-Lee wants to turn the web into something that will "reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions".

"Today, I want to challenge us all to have greater ambitions for the web". Furthermore, he lays out his desire to have more people involved from across business, tech, government, civil society, the arts, and academia in discussions around the future of the web and not those that control it.