Sci-tech

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants to protect the internet

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants to protect the internet”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who's regarded as the inventor of the internet, reckons the web has undergone a "big change" since he created it 30 years ago.

"We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled and manipulated", he said.

"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. Berners-Lee confessed he's "increasingly worried" about how the Web is evolving.

Employees of Google, Facebook and other tech giants have in recent months gone public with their regrets, calling the products they helped build harmful to society and overly addictive.

Giving people control over their own data will benefit everyone, Berners-Lee told CNN Business' Senior Tech Correspondent Laurie Segall in Lisbon. The two tech giants now have direct influence over almost three quarters of all internet traffic thanks to the vast amounts of apps and services they own such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Berners-Lee, 63, has advocated a new deal, a "contract" to make internet safe and accessible for everyone.

Freeing constraints " We have big and small players, it's not the United Nations of the digital world, it's a call for voluntary engagement, for those who want to be part of the solution, whether they're part of the problem or not", the foundation's policy director, Nnenna Nwakanma, told AFP.

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.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) being built upon easy, open access to the internet, the possibility of such traffic being throttled or blocked, and related businesses potentially being held to ransom for greater networking fees, introduces great uncertainty. The contract aims to ensure that the Web continues to "serve humanity" and calls on governments, citizens and companies to agree to a number of principles and commitments.

Still, there is hope in sight.

Until now, many prominent organizations and individuals have already signed the contract. With such support, the Contract may just turn out fine. I grew up on the wild web of yore, and I will die on the hill of free, neutral internet if need be. Depending on where you live, you've likely seen your government make some dubious-if-not-outright (far-right?) authoritarian choices in regard to how the Internet works. On the collection of personal data, something extremely prevalent today, he added that it isn't as valuable to companies as one might expect.

"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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