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Google Donates $1 Million To World Wide Web Foundation 11/07/2018

09 November, 2018, 21:01 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • AFP | Web pioneer Berners Lee said'all kinds of things have gone wrong with the internet

"All kinds of things have things have gone wrong", the computer scientist, who in 1989 invented the Web as a platform, said at the opening of the Web Summit, Europe's largest tech event. "We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled and manipulated", expressed Berners-Lee with concern.

He called on companies and governments to join a "contract for the web" by next May in order to rebuild trust in the internet and find new ways to monetise, regulate and ensure fair and affordable access to the online world.

Google's head of philanthropy, Jacqueline Fuller, said it was huge milestone for the web to reach 30 next year, adding her company was one of 50 organisations to have already signed up to the pact developed by Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation.

Since its inception, Sir Tim Berner's Lee has been a proponent of the free and open nature of the web, and has often warned against complacency in protecting it.

The contract acknowledges that internet users have their own part to play and calls for people to make web content that is "rich and relevant"; to build communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity; and to fight for an open web that is "a global public resource for people everywhere".


As such, Berners-Lee, with backing from industry, politicians and governments, has this week launched a new Contract for the Web.

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. "But people have become disillusioned because of all the things they see in the headlines". The two firms collectively control over three-quarters of all internet traffic through their apps, such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Governments should, for example, ensure that everyone can connect to the internet, and should keep all the internet available all the time, and respect people's fundamental right to privacy. "If we're going to decide on the way we all together work towards having a web that has the right values, we don't want it to be a white guy's contract, we want it to be a contract with everybody". "The contract seeks to get those wielding the most power online to commit to some boundaries in how they treat their users". With such support, the Contract may just turn out fine.

However, as the Web approaches nearly 50% of the world's population as users, Berners-Lee is not convinced that these principles are being upheld or that his original ideals for the Web are being protected. "Women and girls are much less likely to have access (to the internet)". A completely free internet also means companies like Facebook can keep selling our data to the likes of Cambridge Analytica, and that Russian trolls can keep posting weak memes on obscure groups (that somehow still sway elections and patterns of vaccination) with impunity. Those of us who are online are seeing our rights and freedoms threatened.

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