Google Doodle goes all tech to celebrate 30th anniversary

Gerald Bowen
March 14, 2019

In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for an information management system to his boss, Mike Sendall.

In an open letter to mark the anniversary, Berners-Lee said many people now felt unsure about whether the web was a force for good, but that it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that it could not change for the better.

The "hypertext thing" eventually became the "http" protocol that we'd use in front of web addresses.

From entrepreneurs and innovators to bigger organisations, the digital technology sector is one of the UK's fastest-growing industries, worth £116.5 billion to the economy, boosting productivity and employing more than 2.1 million people.

"Today, half of the world is online", he said.

Berners-Lee wrote that this contract is not a quick fix, but rather a way to improve people's relationship with the online world. In his annual published letter, the father of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, identifies three dysfunctions and solutions.

Berners-Lee calls on the global web community to come together and work with the Web Foundation, which is working with governments, companies and citizens to build a new Contract for the Web.

Paul Clarke [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsTrend Micro, also celebrating its 30-year anniversary in the past year, is on the same page as Berners-Lee in furthering efforts to protect human rights and public safety on the internet through initiatives like the What's Your Story? competition.

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"The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information", he wrote.

And although the web has made some people exceedingly wealthy, Berners-Lee's is not one of them, probably in part down to his idealistic vision of providing free access for all.

Berners-Lee, however, said that the web had also created the opportunity for scammers, facilitated the spread of hatred and aided all kinds of crime.

Another is the "system design", which has created "perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait".

Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behavior, and online harassment.

While, as Berners-Lee notes, no one person, corporation, or government is exclusively at fault for the web's current problems, resistance to what he and many others see as necessary systemic reforms has come from powerful companies and political actors.

Berners-Lee reminisced about how he was really out to get disparate computer systems to talk to one another, and resolve the "burning frustration" over a "lack of interoperability" of documentation from disparate computing systems used at CERN in the late 1980s.

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