Exactly 30 years ago, the World Wide Web was invented at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau. It has doubtlessly been one of the most impactful innovations in the history of telecommunications, though it only reaches 50% of the world’s population at present. To mark the milestone, Berners-Lee went on March 12-13 on a conference tour, speaking in Geneva (“where it all began”), London and Lagos.
The World Wide Web Foundation, which fights to “advance the open web as a public good and a basic right”, seized the opportunity to kickstart their “For The Web” campaign, which includes building a crowdfunded timeline of the web’s thirty year history and creating a “Contract for the Web“. This contract will act as a guiding set of principles for states, companies and individuals who shape and contribute to the Web. It is currently in development, with work so far highlighting freedom of speech, security, individual privacy and equality of access. Among the Contract’s supporters are Germany’s Federal Government, Google, Change.org and the Open Rights Group, as well as inviduals like American congressman Ro Khanna, billionaire Richard Branson, Internet law expert Jonathan Zittrain and Tim Berners-Lee himself.
On the anniversary, the Web’s inventor published an optimistic open letter celebrating the technology’s achievements, as well as addressing concerns about the web. In the letter, Berners-Lee discusses recent problems including malicious digital actors, the exploitative design of commercial online platforms and lack of accountability in cyberspace. He also argues that the 50% of the world’s population without internet access must not be left behind. Ultimately, he concludes that “given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30. If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.“.
It’s up to us: https://t.co/cw39fNVZoM #Web30 #ForTheWeb