Sunday, 23 September, 2018


The web's creator says

The web's creator says The web's creator says
Conrad Doyle | 12 March, 2018, 20:12

The status quo: Berners-Lee points in particular to conspiracy theories, fake news, election meddling, and huge hacks to argue that the web is no longer the "free, open, creative space" it was.

"I think the biggest challenge to answer is not how, but who has the right to regulate a global internet in this way", Danny O'Brien, worldwide director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

It's turning 29 - what do you get the World Wide Web that has everything?

"Companies are aware of the problems and are making efforts to fix them-with each change they make affecting millions of people".

"A legal or regulatory framework that accounts for social objectives may help ease those tensions", he said.

"This means thinking about how we align the incentives of the tech sector with those of users and society at large, and consulting a diverse cross-section of society in the process", he continued in his public message, which was posted on the same day the World Wide Web turns 29 years old. "What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms", he wrote.

In last year's letter, he lamented the erosion of privacy, the rise of misinformation and the lack of transparency in political advertising online.

Since then, representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google have been hauled in front of Congress to answer questions over the extent to which their platforms were used in a multi-pronged Russian operation to influence the 2016 presidential election. Targeting firms including Facebook and Google, Berners-Lee criticised how "a handful of platforms" manipulate and control what people see online. "They acquire startup challengers, buy up new innovations and hire the industry's top talent", said Berners-Lee. "Add to this the competitive advantage that their user data gives them, and we can expect the next 20 years to be far less innovative than the last", he warned. The root of the problem, he says, is that too much power has been concentrated in the hands of too few online corporations. He also urged supporting policies that help women and the poor to have access to the web, plus the skills to compete in today's digital world.

In 2016, the United Nations passed a non binding resolution that internet access disruption is a human right (The Verge).

He's also anxious about the spread of misinformation, data theft, fake Facebook and Twitter accounts created to stoke social tensions and sway public opinion ahead of political elections.

But Berners-Lee opines that the companies which have become the web's gatekeepers can not be relied on to fix the problem, thanks to loyalty to their shareholders rather than society at large.

"At the Web Foundation, we are ready to play our part in this mission and build the web we all want".

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