Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web! Here Are Some of the Internet's Firsts

World Wide Web is Not the Web We Wanted, Says Founder Tim Berners Lee at 30th Anniversary of WWW Tim Berners Lee Founder of World Wide Web | File Image
Kayla Schwartz | 15 March, 2019, 09:26

With the help of CERN, he opened the world wide web to the public.

Google is celebrating the 30th birth anniversary of the World Wide Web with an evocative doodle.

On March 12, 1989 British physicist Tim Berners-Lee, working for Europe's physics lab CERN, proposed a decentralised system of information management.

"Vague but exciting" was his supervisor's reply.

While he calls for laws and code to minimize misuse such as state-sponsored hacking, criminal behavior and harassment, Berners-Lee believes it will be impossible to erase completely such behavior - but the world needs to try.

To Berners-Lee, the web is a "mirror of humanity" where "you will see good and bad".

Ninety per cent of adults in the United Kingdom used the internet a year ago, and there are few industries in the world that have not been touched in some way.

Aside from creating a doodle, it also outlined the creation of the World Wide Web, with a brief history on arts and culture blog which contains photos of the original proposal and the computer that has been used to develop the system. The inventor of WWW, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was 33 when he submitted his proposal.

While he is happy that half of the world's population is now online, it is the other half he is anxious about.

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He called on governments to make sure the web remains "competitive" through regulation, and to ensure companies don't prioritise short-term profits over the long-term good.

By the end of that year, Berners-Lee made the very first internet webpage, and by 1991, he started letting people outside of CERN into the new online world.

"[But] it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit", he added. The Web would soon revolutionise life as we know it, ushering in the information age.

"The decision to make the Web an open system was necessary for it to be universal".

Citing the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a turning point for the people's relationship with the web, he pointed to the biggest three dangers facing web users today - malicious activity, business models that reward clickbait, and unintended consequences such as aggression and angry discourse, but warned that tackling them would require all parties to act.

The web's founder called for the widespread adoption of the Contract for the Web.

It's also become a place where tech titans scoop up personal data, rival governments spy and seek to scuttle elections, and hate speech and vitriol have thrived - taking the Web far from its roots as a space for progress-oriented minds to collaborate.

Berners-Lee has since become a sort of father figure for the internet community, been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century by Time magazine.

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