Why the Web Needs More Regulation, Not Less

Sir Tim Berners Lee has warned that social media sites are allowing fake news to spread like

The letter also sees Berners-Lee reaffirm his desire to bring the web to the entire world sooner rather than later, though he's unsure whether the half of the world without the web deserve to receive it in its current state.

Berners-Lee calls on everyone to be more ambitious with regard to the web, to look for new ways to shape the future of the digital economy.

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.

"To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate", says Berners-Lee.

But there's another problem that business can't really solve: Closing the digital gap by getting the unconnected onto the internet.

Last year, on the web's 28th birthday, Berners-Lee wrote about three challenges: misinformation, control over personal data, and political advertising. "They acquire startup challengers, buy up new innovations and hire the industry's top talent", said Berners-Lee.

"He then goes a bit bonkers and accuses the internet kings of trying to "weaponise the web" for their own gains, with the answer to such manipulation perhaps being a ".legal or regulatory framework that accounts for social objectives may help ease those tensions".

Tech monopoly The web is becoming weaponised by the immense amount of power a few companies wield says Sir Tim Berners Lee
Tech monopoly The web is becoming weaponised by the immense amount of power a few companies wield says Sir Tim Berners Lee

"In 2016, the United Nations declared internet access a human right, on par with clean water, electricity, shelter and food", said the 62-year-old British computer scientist.

In many African countries, for example, 1GB of mobile broadband data cost more than 10 percent of the average income, according to a 2016 survey by the Alliance for Affordable Internet.

Platform power has made it possible for people to "weaponize the web at scale", he says.

Berners-Lee reiterated that sentiment during an interview with the Financial Times publishedSunday. The second myth is the idea that it's "too late now" for existing platforms to change their revenue model. We can design a Web that creates a constructive and supportive environment.

The creator of the World Wide Web, the primary information system on the internet, wrote Monday that tech giants may need to be reined in through regulations.

"It may sound utopian, it may sound impossible to achieve after the setbacks of the last two years, but I want us to imagine that future and build it", he added. At the Web Foundation, we are ready to play our part in this mission and build the web we all want.

Aligning the incentives of the technology sector with those of users and society at large, he argued, will require consulting a diverse group of people from business, government, civil society, academia and the arts.

QB Kirk Cousins says farewell to Washington Redskins
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