World Wide Web Inventor Expresses Major Concerns On 28th Anniversary

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The True Purpose Of The Web

The World Wide Web (WWW) we all use today was invented 28 years ago by English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. In 1989 while employed at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) after creating the World Wide Web he proceeded to create the first browser and web server as well. All of this was done as an act of desperation to share information. Tim also fought to make sure his invention was available freely without any patents or royalties. He is currently the founder and director of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) focused on developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web. A couple of days ago on the 28th anniversary of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee expressed three major concerns. These major concerns threaten the true purpose of the Web which is “for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity.”

Three Major Concerns To Tackle

On an open letter released this past Sunday marking the 28th birthday of the Web, Tim explained how he “imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.” But over the last 12 months, he’s become increasingly worried about the following three major concerns that must be tackled.

1) Personal data

Tim pointed out how we regularly submit personal data to websites in exchange of free content. Often agreeing on long terms and conditions our data is stored away on proprietary servers out of our control. As users, we have no way of letting companies know what personal information we rather not share with third parties.  He specifically refers in his open letter to “Through collaboration with – or coercion of – companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy.” This is more concerning in repressive countries where people can be killed as a result.

2)   Fake news

Most people find news or information through social media sites and search engines. The problem is that the ads or links in which we are being targetted based on algorithms are meant to make it attractive for us to click. They are constantly harvesting our data to understand our taste and what we are more likely to click on. Fake news which is designed to be biased and make it appealing to us can “spread like wildfire”. Tim refers to the people with “bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.”

3)   Political advertising 

Last but not least he explained how “political advertising online has rapidly become a sophisticated industry.” We are being targetted as individuals based on our personal information through social media. Some political advertisements are being used in unethical ways to point people to fake news and make them stay away from the polls.

Complex Solutions

Tim Berners-Lee understands that “these are complex problems, and the solutions will not be simple.” But he encourages the people to “work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people.” For us to fight against government surveillance and push back against misinformation encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue to fight the problem. His team at Web Foundation will be working on many of these issues on a five-year strategy. He urges for all of us who have shaped what the Web is today to support his cause “by spreading the word, keeping up pressure on companies and governments”.

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6 Comments on "World Wide Web Inventor Expresses Major Concerns On 28th Anniversary"

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JohnWick
Rank
Senior

Fake news is an epidemic and people use them to their advantage big time

Vendetta
Rank
Junior

it’s hard to believe that any of these problems will be fixed anytime soon

Joker
Rank
Boss

We are all doomed. The internet is a beast

Kal-El
Rank
Senior

We have far too much personal data on the web. As far as fake news, it’s easy to determine whats fake or not but people are too lazy

TylerDurden
Rank
Senior

Good article. I had no idea how the web was created. If the father of the web says so it must be important

Demon
Rank
Senior

It tells a lot about the world we live in when a positive invention has become such a negative thing

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