berners-lee save the web

With the rise of online harassment, hate speech, state-sponsored hacking, and fake news, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the innovator of the World Wide Web, doesn’t exactly like what he sees…

Sir Berners-Lee issued a passionate letter and spoke with a few press reporters Monday on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his very first paper with a summary of what would become the web– a first step towards transforming numerous lives and the worldwide economy.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, prepares to host Berners-Lee and other web enthusiasts on Tuesday. Berners-Lee noted, “We’re celebrating, but we’re also very concerned.”

Late in 2015, an essential limit was crossed– roughly half the world has gotten online. Today some 2 billion websites exist.

The anniversary uses “an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go,”  Berners-Lee stated, calling the “fight” for the web “one of the important causes of our time.”

He is aware the online population will continue to grow but says availability issues continue to beset much of the world.

Berners-Lee explained, “Look at the 50 percent who are on the web, and it’s not so pretty for them,” adding, “they are all stepping back suddenly horrified after the Trump and Brexit elections realizing that this web thing that they thought was so cool has actually not necessarily been serving humanity very well.”

The anniversary is also a nod to the ingenious, collective and open-source state of mind at the Geneva-based CERN, where physicists smash particles together to unlock tricks of science and the universe.

As a young English software engineer, Berners-Lee developed the concept for hypertext-transfer procedure– the “HTTP” that embellishes web addresses– and other foundation for the web while working at CERN in March 1989. Some trace the actual start of the web to 1990 when he released the very first web browser.

Berners-Lee thought back about how he was out to get various computer system systems to talk to one another, and resolve the “burning frustratioa over an “lack of interoperability” of paperwork from disparate computing systems used at CERN in the late 1980s.

Now, his Internet Structure hopes to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a more significant role in shaping the web for excellent under concepts set out in its “Contract for the Web.”

Under the contract’s sweeping, broad aspiration, federal governments are expected to make sure everybody can link to the web, to keep it offered and to respect personal privacy. It is to meant make the internet affordable, respect individual privacy and develop technology that will put people– and the “public good”– first. People are called on to create and to cooperate and respect “civil discourse,” among other things.

To Berners-Lee, the web is a “mirror of mankind” where “you will see good and bad.”

The father of the web looks to redefine it

In addition to the civil contract, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is also building a new product geared towards returning the power of information to the general population.

Acting against the growing risk of data-hungry web enterprises, Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s new initiative, Inrupt, is intending to decentralize the web and rewrite the guidelines of online business with its brand-new open-source project, Solid.

The web “has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.”  Berners-Lee discussed in a blog post, adding, “Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary”

Berners-Lee described Solid as an alternative to Big Tech data centers, allowing users to keep their details in personal online data storage, or “pods.” which would permit business access only when the user granted consent.

Solid’s “pods” are just one piece of the Solid environment, however. In addition to independent information storage, Berners-Lee visualizes a much wider environment consisting of decentralized applications constructed using tools from the Inrupt site.

Among Berners-Lee’s ideas is to construct a new version of Amazon’s Alexa which he calls Charlie. For Berner-Lee, Charlie will provide all of the benefits of the e-commerce giant’s digital assistant, except users will remain in control of data acquired by Charlie. This suggests users will be able to trust Charlie with their financial and health records, private occasions, and more.

Berners-Lee hopes that these apps will shake-up the power dynamics between customers and the tech leviathans that presently rule the web: “Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value. As we’ve all discovered, this hasn’t been in our best interests. Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way.”

Impeccable timing from Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s timing could not be better. The tension between the average consumer and Big Tech is increasingly palpable. With high-profile breaches becoming more frequent and more prominent in scale and seriousness, customers are looking for alternatives.

According to a recent report by digital security experts Gemalto, over 4.5 billion records have been compromised in the first half of 2018.

Though healthcare networks represent the most significant quantity of breaches, social networks, and the financial services industry follow closely behind. Between Twitter and Facebook alone, over 2.5 billion records were jeopardized, the report kept in mind.

From January to July, Gemalto approximates that the equivalent of 291 records were stolen every second, consisting of monetary records, medical records, and personal info, putting 2018 on track to be one of the most hacked years on record. The most stunning information, however, is that only one percent of this information was encrypted, raising concerns about how both the business included and regulators value the security of customers’ data.

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