Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Web inventor urges users to seek 'complete control' of data

Web inventor urges users to seek 'complete control' of data

Berners-Lee launched a campaign called "Contract for the Web" at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal, last year.

His boss responded to that initial proposal in understated fashion, concluding that it was "vague but exciting".

As a young English software engineer at CERN, Berners-Lee, who is now 63, came up with the idea for hypertext transfer protocol - the "http" that adorns web addresses - and other building blocks for the web.

March 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

Firstly there is the "deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment".

Thirty years ago, Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN, submitted an ordinary-looking document to his superior entitled "Information Management: a Proposal", external link which would revolutionise the way we live today.

Numerous world's largest web-based companies, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, have come under scrutiny over data privacy issues and the rising spread of malicious and offensive content.

In January the following year the web was released outside Cern to other research institutions, before being opened to the general public on the Internet seven months later.

"While the first category is impossible to eradicate completely, we can create both laws and code to minimize this behavior, just as we have always done offline", Berners-Lee writes.

"And most important of all, citizens must hold companies and governments accountable for the commitments they make, and demand that both respect the web as a global community with citizens at its heart".

Late past year, a key threshold was crossed - roughly half the world has gotten online.

Also as pointed out by other experts at the panel, the web is increasingly centralizing as the next billion people getting online may be increasingly dependent on major Internet giants like Facebook and Google, who have been playing more of a gatekeeper role during the centralization and have "basically built surveillance machines".

The contract, which is not "written in stone", must help guide people on the journey from "digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible and inclusive future", the web inventor said. Berners-Lee wasn't looking to transform modern life when he invented the World Wide Web; he had just gotten exhausted of having to switch computers whenever he needed to access information that wasn't on his main work computer.

"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. "We will have failed the web".

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