Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Industry | By Dora Warner

At 30, World Wide Web 'not the web we wanted,' inventor says

At 30, World Wide Web 'not the web we wanted,' inventor says

The World Wide Web and the internet are wrongly confused as the same thing - something Sir Tim is quick to correct people on. But Berners-Lee, now 63, is conscious of what needs to be done to fix his invention.

The "http" system allowed text and small images to be retrieved through a piece of software - the first browser - which Berners-Lee released in 1990 and is considered the start of the Web.

The CERN anniversary event celebrated how the creation of the World Wide Web launched a technological revolution that improved life in many ways.

On Monday, as the WWW's 30th anniversary was being marked in CERN, Berners-Lee had a few words to say about the current state of affairs. CERN, the European Organizations for Nuclear Research, will welcome Berners-Lee to speak about his new venture with the World Wide Web Foundation on Tuesday.

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The unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarized tone and quality of online discourse. "The Web is not the Web we wanted in every respect". Where did it all go so wrong? "Well, looking back, all kinds of things have gone wrong since". Sir Tim said people were realising their data could be "manipulated" in the light of recent privacy scandals.

The World Wide Web Foundation is now developing what it calls a Contract for the Web, which aims to ensure access to the internet is recognised as a human right - built for the public good.

The Contract for the Web seeks a collaboration among governments, companies and citizens.

They must ensure markets remain competitive, innovative and open. The goal of showcasing it online is to let people know the origin, as well as, the importance of the web, and also emphasizing that people nowadays are abusing the advantages offered by the tool. "We will have failed the web", he wrote.

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"If we don't elect politicians who defend a free and open web, if we don't do our part to foster constructive healthy conversations online", said Sir Tim. The web was never an official CERN Project because, as complicated as it may seem on the diagram itself, the company did not believe in its goal.

"As the web reshaped our world, we have the responsibility to make sure it is recognised as a human right and built for the public good", he said. His actual plan is called the "Contract for the Web". This has since encouraged the use of the Web and society to benefit from it. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data.

Berners-Lee said that it was important to strike a balance between oversight and freedom but that it's hard to agree what the balance should be.

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