Tim Berners-Lee: Three Things We Need to Do to Save the Web

March 29, 2017

One of the Web’s original founders is concerned about the direction his creation is taking.

Twenty-eight years ago this month, British computer scientist and Internet Hall of Fame inductee Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his proposal for what is now the World Wide Web.

In a column published recently by The Guardian, Berners-Lee acknowledged that in the nearly three decades since, three particular trends have emerged that he believes may jeopardize the web’s ability to be a tool used for the greater good.

Specifically at issue for Berners-Lee are the widespread collection of personal data, the ease with which incorrect information is rapidly disseminated and the lack of transparency and oversight when it comes to political ads. Although he admits that the problems – and the necessary solutions – are complex, he is quick to point out that there are ways to address these issues moving forward.

“We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology such as personal ‘data pods’ if needed and exploring alternative revenue models such as subscriptions and micropayments.

“We must fight against government overreach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is ‘true’ or not.”

Read the full column at The Guardian.

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