Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants to protect the internet

English scientist Tim Berners Lee from the Web Foundation addresses the opening ceremony of annual Web Summit technology conference in Lisb Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches 'Magna Carta for the web' to save internet from abuse
Kayla Schwartz | 09 November, 2018, 20:58

We review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. A nod to Hobbe's concept of the social contract, the new framework aims to ensure that the Internet is used ethically and transparently for all participants.

On Monday, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, promoted the idea with his unveiling of the "Contract for the Web", an effort to get society committed to protecting the internet for the good of all.

Individuals are encouraged to "respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome online".

In it, he calls on governments to commit to making sure the web is fully accessible to all their citizens at all times, while respecting their right to privacy.

Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyoneSo that no one is excluded from using and shaping the web.

The "contract" describes core principals, such as ensuring that everyone worldwide can connect to the internet, keep the information stored on it available to all, respect people's fundamental right to privacy, be creators and collaborators on the web, and more. Nor does it cover the nitty-gritty of content moderation or defining hate speech.

The whole contract process and its starting principles have been published by Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation, and have already received backing from over 50 significant organisations. Among them are Google and Facebook.

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"We've lost control of our personal data and that data is being weaponised against us".

However, despite these efforts, Berbers-Lee insists that the world needs a "new Contract for the Web, with clear and tough responsibilities for those who have the power to make it better". And that's why Google is supporting the Web foundation... "If you sign up to the principles, you can't do censorship", said Berners-Lee. "We have fake news. We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled and manipulated", expressed Berners-Lee with concern.

Users have access to services seemingly for free (messaging, search and sharing of information, videos...), but, in exchange, their personal data are sold to advertisers. Citizens will also be mindful to "behave nicely", he added.

Those that do fork-out a premium for prioritised traffic, in this scenario, contribute to an ecosystem that creates unfair advantages and reduced consumer power and choice - putting small businesses and start-ups at the mercy of established companies with bigger pockets.

So how will the contract be enforced?

Roya Mahboob, founder of the Afghan Girls Robotics Club, said: "The contract for the web comes at a flawless time for women and girls around the world to speak truth to power, call out injustice and seize new opportunities". However, the real enforcement will have to come from public pressure.

France is the first government to support the contract. And to fix the issues we have with the existing Web.

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