Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Web can be changed for better in next 30 yrs

Google Doodle celebrates World Wide Web's 30th birthday Web inventor calls for 'fight' to protect internet on its 30th birthday
Jeannette Daniel | 14 March, 2019, 02:41

It wasn't quite "could do better", but it was hardly a ringing endorsement.

"The privileged of the world benefit from the Web but over 50 percent of the population in the world can not", Jorge said. Mike Sendall, Berners-Lee's boss at Switzerland-based large particle physics laboratory, CERN, offered the note, "vague but exciting".

Berners-Lee spelled out what he believes are the web's biggest issues, which include state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behavior, and online harassment.

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.

The "http" system allowed text and small images to be retrieved through a piece of software - the first browser - which Berners-Lee released in 1990 and is considered the start of the web.

And finally he worries about the "unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse". "Why don't you do that hypertext thing?" "What could go wrong?"

More news: Conservatives Have New App To Find 'Safe Spaces' Away From Liberals

In the letter, Berners-Lee identifies three main "sources of dysfunction" that plague today's web (he appears to use the words "web" and "internet" as synonyms, which isn't quite true, but we'll let it slide). "And they have a responsibility to protect people's rights and freedoms online", he said. "We will have failed the web". Platforms and products must be designed with privacy, diversity and security in mind.

He assured that the web foundation was working with governments, companies and citizens to make the web safer.

When asked who owns this, Lee replied, "We do!".

"The challenges come from the same things that make it (the Web) wonderful, and that's the difficulty", said conference panelist Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina's School of Information and Library Science.

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". However, he added that the web had also provided new ways for "scammers" to carry out crimes and "given a voice to those who spread hatred". What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data.

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.

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