Berners-Lee outlines biggest threats to the web

threats to the worldwide web

The man widely credited with having invented the worldwide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has outlined what he sees as the three biggest threats to the globally available public digital noticeboard. 

It was officially the web’s 28th birthday yesterday, and the Web Foundation published a letter from Berners-Lee in which he wrote of the “the recurring battle” to keep the web open.

The three specific areas about which he is most worried – and about which he wrote extensively in the letter – include personal data, misinformation, and political advertising.

Berners-Lee listed his concerns, saying:

  1. We’ve lost control of our personal data;
  2. It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web; and
  3. Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding.

Berners-Lee developed the worldwide web when he was working for Cern, the atom-smashing scientific establishment in Europe.

It was originally intended as a way for scientists to share documents and data, and Berners-Lee is unlikely to have imagined how “the web” would eventually take over the world.

Berners-Lee says: “I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.

“In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity.”

He adds that the Web Foundation will be working on many of the issues facing the web as part of its new five-year strategy, and will need support.

“It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone,” he says.

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