World Wide Web turns 30 years old

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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, 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.

Tim Berners-Lee followed the tradition and wrote a letter of celebration in the anniversary of the World Wide Web (WWW), where optimism and confidence in improving are present. “(…) It would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web (…) can’t be changed for the better in the next 30 (years)” said Berners-Lee, reinforcing the idea that we can not give up on the internet.

Tim Berners-Lee on Twitter

It’s up to us: #Web30 #ForTheWeb

While the appearance of the WWW has brought many benefits to the human being, as for example, the high speed in which we get information from other parts of the world, Tim Berners-Lee also pointed out what are, in his opinion, the greatest dangers in the online world. Narrowing relationships and communication have brought the problem of misuse of the internet, such as criminal behavior and hacking. In addition, the dissemination of polarized and disruptive information and discourses online are major threats to the web.

In a farewell tone, the creator of the WWW made sure to express through his open letter the desire to see citizens, companies and governments go hand in hand in order to better manage the online space. This issue had previously been addressed when launching the Web Agreement, in the Web Summit 2018, which took place in November in Lisbon, Portugal.

Tim Berners-Lee says the Web Agreement should not be a list of quick fixes, but a process that signals a change. The idea is that the contract is understandable, being seen as a “guiding star” that plots the way, but flexible enough to adapt to the pace of technology. At the end of the letter, Berners-Lee concludes that this journey is a maturation of the digital teenagehood for a more promising and responsible future.

Google did not want to leave this day pass in blank, congratulating the 30 years of the WWW through an animated Doodle, which represents a computer connected to a network receiving information.

On this side, we also wanted to remember this day as an important milestone in the birth and evolution of Wikitribune as an online journalism platform.

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