March 18, 2018

Web Inventor Wants Regulation of the Social Networks

13 March 2018, 10:48 | Regina Holmes

Tim Berners-Lee 'Beware the weaponised web'

Tim Berners-Lee 'Beware the weaponised web'

On the 29th birthday of the world wide web, its founder Tim Berners-Lee has penned down an interesting perspective about how the web is now exclusively controlled by a handful of companies and how a regulator may soon be needed to monitor it to prevent it from being weaponised at scale.

In his letter, Berners-Lee criticized tech giants like Twitter and Facebook for having too much control over the Internet, and suggested more regulation.

Tim Berners-Lee wove the World Wide Web and is still caught up in it - especially Monday, its 29th birthday.

Berners-Lee also expressed how the web "was once a rich selection of blogs and websites" but has now "been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms".

Berners-Lee points out that these key companies control which "ideas and options are seen and shared" at a key point in history, with the number of people with internet access globally to exceed 50 per cent for the first time in 2018, in line with the United Nations declaration that using the net is a basic human right.

While last year's threats are still prevalent, this year Berners-Lee is focusing on closing the digital divide, making the web work for people, and bringing more voices to debate on the web's future. "That's an entire generation left behind", Berners-Lee warned. This is because the dominant platforms now have the power to buy startup challengers, acquire the latest technologies and hire away the top talent. They also decide what content is and isn't allowed on the web.

He suggested that a legal or regulatory framework that "accounts for social objectives" could help in an industry that's created to maximize profit instead of the "social good". Currently, half of the world's population can not access the internet. And at the beginning of this year the UN Broadband Commission launched 2025 targets (ITU), including adopting the Alliance for Affordable Internet's threshold for affordability target, which says entry-level broadband services should be less than two percent of average monthly incomes. While he does not propose any particular ideas, he points out that advertising is not the only business model available to online companies, and that a more creative approach is needed. We can design a Web that creates a constructive and supportive environment. Furthermore, he lays out his desire to have more people involved from across business, tech, government, civil society, the arts, and academia in discussions around the future of the web and not those that control it.

"I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions", he said.

"Today, I want to challenge us all to have greater ambitions for the web".

Other News

Trending Now

DGCA orders grounding of 8 IndiGo, 3 GoAir aircraft over engine issues
Immediately after this, three A-320s of IndiGo were grounded in India as these planes had both engines of the flagged type. On 13 February, DGCA had said that it was monitoring engine glitches to ensure that safety is not compromised at any time.

Assassin's Creed Origins: Curse of the Pharaohs Now Available
Professional killer's Creed Origins: The Curse of the Pharaohs is the last DLC incorporated into the ebb and flow Season Pass. Ubisoft was careful enough to mention that taking on the pharaohs will be a challenge even for high level players.

Venus Williams moves into third round at BNP Paribas Open
The sisters first played each other competitively at the Australian Open way back in 1998, with Venus triumphing in straight sets. Tennis star Serena Williams is planning to launch her beauty line and has filed legal documents to trademark her product line.

Spotify Now Allows Users To Edit Song Information
ITWeb is attending the official launch on Tuesday and will provide more details as they become available. There, the Premium tier costs US$9.99/month, or $14.99 for a family plan of up to six users.

Federer opens Indian Wells title defense with 2-day win
Frenchman Gael Monfils survived a match point before beating big-serving American 15th seed John Isner 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 7-5. South African seventh seed Kevin Anderson also prevailed in his second round match, 7-5 6-4 over Russian Evgeny Donskoy.

Kirk Cousins says farewell to Redskins' fans
The Jets have a league-leading $89.8 million in salary-cap space after the Cleveland Browns went trade insane over the weekend. I am filled with gratitude over the unwavering support and devotion from you, the fans, both on and off the field.

Trump Rejected Miss Universe Contestants for Being 'Too Ethnic,' 'Too Dark-Skinned'
At least that's what former aide Sam Nunberg said in a string of unhinged interviews he gave on Monday after getting a subpoena. In the same news conference, Trump called on Russian Federation to find and release Clinton's emails.

People's Assemblies suspended as Raila, Uhuru pursue pact
Bodyguards were withdrawan in early February after the "swearing-in" of Odinga as "people's president". Working with Jubilee, he added, would in fact be beneficial to Nasa.

Facebook gets exclusives rights to 25 Major League Baseball games this season
It has been doing that since May a year ago but Facebook didn't have the exclusive rights back then that it has been awarded now. The dueling announcements highlight the emerging arms race in the tech industry to lure users with live streaming sports events.

White House promises quick tariff decision
In recent days, the president has also lost a speechwriter, an associate attorney general, and his North Korea negotiator. But even if Trump agrees to compromise on his current tariff plans, it will still leave a problematic situation for Asia.