Sci-tech

Inventor of World Wide Web launches contract for better Internet

Inventor of World Wide Web launches contract for better Internet

The Web Foundation said the majority of people not online live in poor countries and it criticised the fact that "billions of people" access the internet "through a small handful of huge companies".

For a long time, like 20 years, I thought all I had to do is keep it (the web) free and open and people would do wonderful things. We need to make sure that the people that are connected to the Web, that the Web allows them to produce the Web that they want, the world that they want.

"What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field, so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up", Berners-Lee told Reuters.

Like other tech pioneers, Berners-Lee saw the internet as a platform that would open new horizons but he is disappointed with how it has evolved.

Google's part in the plan backs the commitment with a $1 million Google.org grant to the World Wide Web Foundation so it can continue to drive forward its important work #ForTheWeb.

Individuals would pledge to "respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome online", according to one of the core principles.

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed the contract. However, the founder hopes it will help generate conversation across the world.

One of the early signatories to the contract, Facebook, has been fined by the Information Commissioner's Office for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal; has faced threats from the European Union for taking too long to remove extremist content; and has been sued for allowing advertisers to target housing ads only at white people.

Another early signatory, Google, is reportedly developing a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese market.

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee is very well known.

But what really got people talking was the first talk from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web nearly thirty years ago.

Many prominent critics now openly centralization of the internet in the hands of a few giants - the GAFA american (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), and the Chinese Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi or BATX.

"It is an economy of addiction, like gambling or video games", said Mitchell Baker, the chairperson of the Mozilla foundation, she will also be invited to the Web Summit, in an interview with the AFP.

Tim Berners-Lee shared this new contract at Web Summit 2018 and it aims to protect the web as a public good and basic right for all.

More recently he has been vocal about the power wielded by big tech companies, whose financial, political and social influence outweighs many nations.

While some online issues aren't completely malicious - such as fake news bringing in ad revenue, they are still just that: issues. They don't want people to look back and say theirs was the platform that misled people to vote against their own best interests.

"If we spend a certain amount of time using the internet we have to spend a little proportion of that time defending it, worrying about it, looking out for it..."