Tim Berners-Lee: Google and Facebook are helping to weaponise the web

Tim Berners-Lee 'Beware the weaponised web'

Tim Berners-Lee 'Beware the weaponised web'

Today marks the 29th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web, a tech infrastructure that has become so ubiquitous that the AP Stylebook decided in 2016 that the words "internet" and "web" were no longer proper nouns but generic ones.

In his letter, Sir Berners-Lee says the internet we have today is filled with misinformation, political advertising, and loss of control over personal data. On the web's 29th birthday, Berners-Lee warned that since power is concentrated among a small number of companies, it is "possible to weaponise the web at scale". This has, in turn, enabled these powerful platforms to "control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared".

"To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate", he said, and called for "serious" investing to close the gap. He also said that without investment the last billion people who have yet to access the internet will not be online until 2042 (Alliance for Affordable Internet). "That's an entire generation left behind", he said.

The inventor goes on to say that these so-called gatekeepers buy up innovations and talent in a bid to lock their position on the web. Berners-Lee pointed to the problem of bad actors exploiting social media. Bringing them into the fold will diversify voices on the internet and be, well, a moral thing to do now that the United Nations has decided internet access is a basic human right. The target has been set - the United Nations recently adopted the Alliance for Affordable Internet's threshold for affordability: 1GB of mobile data for less than 2 percent of average monthly income. Then, he's saying we must "make the web work for people", which means dominant platforms should make an effort not to "choke" the little guy.

The future of the Web isn't just about those of us who are online today, but also those yet to connect.

The creator of the World Wide Web, the primary information system on the internet, wrote Monday that tech giants may need to be reined in through regulations.

He says thinking that advertising is the only way to make money online is a myth, and so is the mentality that it's too late to do anything to make real changes. "I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions", he continued.

Aligning the incentives of the technology sector with those of users and society at large, he argued, will require consulting a diverse group of people from business, government, civil society, academia and the arts. At the Web Foundation, we are ready to play our part in this mission and build the web we all want.

Recommended News

  • Mourinho shrugs off criticism from 'worst manager' De Boer

    He needs games, he's so talented - you want to see this player every week". The Dutchman's remarks prompted a savage response from Mourinho.
    Hundreds of passengers stranded as DGCA grounds 11 IndiGo, GoAir planes

    Hundreds of passengers stranded as DGCA grounds 11 IndiGo, GoAir planes

    Clarifying its position, Pratt & Whitney in a statement said: "We are working closely with our customers to minimize disruption". Immediately after this, three A-320s of IndiGo were grounded in India as these planes had both engines of the flagged type.
    Tesla raises prices at its Supercharger stations

    Tesla raises prices at its Supercharger stations

    Boothbay Fund Management Limited Liability holds 0.26% or 4,577 shares. 365 are owned by Winch Advisory Ser Ltd Liability Company. The rating was maintained by Piper Jaffray on Thursday, August 3 with "Buy". (NYSE:SERV) rating on Tuesday, December 22.
  • Passenger gear eyed as possible cause of fatal NYC helicopter crash

    Passenger gear eyed as possible cause of fatal NYC helicopter crash

    Another witness told the Post that for a moment she was under the impression that the no one would make it alive out of the crash. A helicopter crashed into the East River in New York City on Sunday night. "So, there are two things you have to get past".
    Video appears to show Iowa Senate leader kissing lobbyist at bar

    Video appears to show Iowa Senate leader kissing lobbyist at bar

    That website said the video came from an anonymous person who saw the two in a bar and recognized Sen. Dix has maintained the ex-staffer was sacked for poor performance.
    Microsoft Details Teams Feature Roadmap

    Microsoft Details Teams Feature Roadmap

    Background blurring of video calls will allow Team users to pretend they are not really calling from the pub. But now over 200,000 businesses are currently using Teams , including the likes of General Motors, A.P.
  • "Met Opera fires conductor Levine after "'credible evidence' of misconduct

    He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s. In total Levine conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company and was an influencer in classical music.
    Lakers show LeBron what they've got in 127-113 win

    Lakers show LeBron what they've got in 127-113 win

    The Lakers' solid effort against Cleveland underlined that notion, for whatever it's worth in James' mind. Soon-to-be superstar free agent LeBron James is evidently impressed by the young Los Angeles Lakers team.
    Wales run in five tries against Italy

    Wales run in five tries against Italy

    Wales' George North runs in his side's second try during the NatWest 6 Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. I didn't think if he was going to make the tackle he needed to go that high.
  • Oskar Groening, 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' dies at 96

    Oskar Groening, 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' dies at 96

    Groening was convicted and sentenced for being an accessory to murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz during World War II. Most recently, his lawyers made one final bid for clemency, a decision on which still was pending.
    Trump points to national security in blocking Broadcom's attempted Qualcomm takeover

    Trump points to national security in blocking Broadcom's attempted Qualcomm takeover

    It's been working for more than a year to close that deal, which Qualcomm says is key to entering new, fast-growing markets. The death of Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm at the hand of Donald Trump leaves a worrying fog for others to navigate.
    Drew Mahowald: The Vikings and their Chances of Landing Drew Brees

    Drew Mahowald: The Vikings and their Chances of Landing Drew Brees

    Brees could walk away from New Orleans and get paid more money and have just as good of a chance to win elsewhere. In 2017, Brees led the Saints to an 11-5 record, throwing for 4,334 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.