Web pioneer wants new 'contract' for internet

World Wide Web Inventor Wants New'Contract To Make Internet Safe

One of the pioneers of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, must announce a "contract for the web" to make the internet "safe and accessible" to all, on the night of the opening.

Well, duh: all kinds of things have gone wrong since. Channeling Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Berners-Lee said at Lisbon's Web Summit that he sees the rise of fake news, online harassment, and the use of your own personal information against you as the antithesis of what he intended with his creation.

"The web is for everybody, and so if the web is for everyone the contract has got to be for everyone", he said. But if anyone has a chance, it's Tim Berners-Lee.

Several news reports cite the 63-year-old MIT professor as pointing to information leaks from Facebook, which saw almost 90 million of its users' personal data compromised, as an example of a handful of tech giants having too much power. The two firms collectively control over three-quarters of all internet traffic through their apps, such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

In September 2018 Berners-Lee launched the Solid initiative, which seeks to give web users greater control over who has access to their data.

Some 70,000 people are expected to take part in the four-day Web Summit, dubbed "the Davos for geeks", including speakers from leading global tech companies, politicians and start-ups hoping to attract attention from the over 1,500 investors who are scheduled to attend. We need a new Contract for the Web, with clear and tough responsibilities for those who have the power to make it better. The year 2019 also marks the Web's 30th anniversary.

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Recent research has found that over 2 billion people live in places where internet is prohibitively expensive to access.

The contract (in its current, work-in-progress version) includes some short principles aimed towards three sectors: government, private companies, and citizens.

If the emergence of social networks has played a role in the arab Spring and the election of Barack Obama, the first black president of america, the next phase is it synonymous with misinformation and suspicions of manipulation of the campaigns that have marked the 2016 election Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, and the vote for the Brexit, the United Kingdom. I think this has been a tipping point. Over 50 groups have signed it already. It also helps that I was raised in Eastern Europe so I have a deeply-ingrained aversion against limits to freedom.

Users have access to services seemingly for free (messaging, search and sharing of information, videos...), but, in exchange, their personal data are sold to advertisers.

"The technology will she kill democracy?", "Building trust in the age of disinformation", "A free and open internet is not possible any more": the disillusionment digital has emerged as a major theme at the Web Summit that opens Monday night in Lisbon.

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