Web creator Berners-Lee launches contract for better internet

Gerald Bowen
November 8, 2018

Founder of The World Wide Web Foundation, and internet originator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has announced a new campaign and a contract dubbed a "Magna Carta for the web".

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, not the internet.

However, in his view, they "suggest some concerns", particularly in issues such as privacy and online security, which he pointed out showing images of fake profiles on social networks and manipulation on the internet.

However, that vision has withered on the vine. Berners-Lee is against this, claiming that "if you sign up to the principles, you can't do censorship". The lack of privacy, the spread of misinformation, and lack of transparency in online political advertising are some of the biggest rotten apples.

However, as the Web approaches nearly 50% of the world's population as users, Berners-Lee is not convinced that these principles are being upheld or that his original ideals for the Web are being protected. The date marks the earliest estimate for when 50% or more of humanity will be connected to the Internet.

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So people are in control of their lives online. "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", says a spokesperson.

Countries are increasingly shutting down the Internet during elections or protests.

Employees of Google, Facebook and other tech giants have in recent months gone public with their regrets, calling the products they helped build harmful to society and overly addictive. "But people have become disillusioned because of all the things they see in the headlines".

What's been interesting recently is the Data Transfer Project, where Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft all agreed that you can export your data from one and import it into another. The two firms collectively control over three-quarters of all internet traffic through their apps, such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

"We have big and small players, it's not the United Nations of the digital world, it's a call for voluntary engagement, for those who want to be part of the solution, whether they're part of the problem or not", the foundation's policy director, Nnenna Nwakanma, told AFP. I hope more people will join us to build the web we want. In case you are wondering why May, 2019, that's because it will mark the "50/50 moment" - when more than half the world's population will finally be online. The contract is based on a set of nine guiding principles, three from each sector - government, business, and people. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the web serves humanity. 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.

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