WWW Creator Tim Berners-Lee Shapes Web Rescue Strategy

Contract for the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, creator, world wide web, www, web foundation, CERN, re-invent, accountability, misleading, falsehoods, news

British scientist and World Wide Web (WWW) creator Tim Berners-Lee has designed a strategy to save the internet from corruption and falsehoods,  The Guardian reported on Sunday (Nov. 24).

Berners-Lee worked for CERN when he was credited with inventing the web in 1989. His proposed Contract for the Web asks the public, governments and corporations worldwide to make a “commitment to protect the web from abuse and ensure it benefits humanity.”

He told the Guardian that not taking action will trigger “a very large number of things” to go awry. “We could end up with a digital dystopia if we don’t turn … the web around now.”

The plan was devised by 80 organizations and took over a year to create. It outlines nine core fundamentals — three each for the public, governments, and corporations — to protect the web. Over 150 organizations — including Microsoft, Google and Facebook — have endorsed the project. Amazon and Twitter didn’t sign on yet.

“The forces taking the web in the wrong direction have always been very strong,” Berners-Lee told the Guardian. “Whether you’re a company or a government, controlling the web is a way to make huge profits or a way of ensuring you remain in power.”

The founding director of the Web Foundation, he launched the non-profit in 2009 “to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right,” according to its website. 

“I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open-source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web,” he said in a New York Times (NYT) opinion piece on Sunday (Nov. 24).

He also went so far as to say that governments “should impose an immediate ban on targeted political advertising.” 

In March he said, “If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us — we will have failed the web.”