Worldwide web inventor wants new 'contract' to make web safe

Ceria Alfonso
Noviembre 7, 2018

Among the speakers expected on these themes figure Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who has revealed in the beginning of the year the scandal of Cambridge Analytica, a company for which he worked as a research director, and who is accused of having used for political purposes the personal data of 50 million users of Facebook.

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.

Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, launches Contract for the Web that encourages companies to agree to let individuals own and control their data and importantly to allow mobility of data. Last month, Berners-Lee's Web Foundation also found a dramatic slowdown in the Internet's growth, with rural populations and women disproportionately excluded from the online revolution.

"For many years there was a feeling that the wonderful things on the web were going to dominate and we'd have a world with less conflict, more understanding, more and better science, and good democracy", Berners-Lee told the Guardian.

Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the web, has convinced Google and Facebook to agree to new ethical principles around respecting people's data and privacy - while also advocating for breaking them up.

The contract aims to ensure that the Web continues to "serve humanity" and calls on governments, citizens and companies to agree to a number of principles and commitments.

Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worstSo the web really is a public good that puts people first. We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled in a way that they can be manipulated.

The former United Kingdom prime minister Gordon Brown has added his signature to the contract.

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"We have to create a contract for the web ..."

Berners-Lee concedes it will be hard to measure the success of the contract, which will be promoted through a campaign called #ForTheWeb.

But at the same time, Berners-Lee's warnings do have weight. Will it be persuasive enough for the Chinese government to be more open?

Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard University and author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It said: "To me, the most important function of the contract is to remind people that the web we have isn't the only one possible".

Its starter principles define the responsibilities that governments, companies and citizens each hold, to create a better web.

For three decades we've seen the tremendous good that the web can deliver.

Interestingly, big tech such as Facebook, despite signing the contract, have actioned against the contract. He even said, "maybe it's a myth" regarding the idea that companies need that data to be profitable.

"If we spend a certain amount of time using the internet we have to spend a little proportion of that time defending it, worrying about it, looking out for it..."

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