Sir Tim Berners-Lee stays committed to the World Wide Web

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee stays committed to the World Wide Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee stays committed to the World Wide Web

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has suggested that his creation could do with more regulation.

Big problems: Just "a handful of platforms. control which ideas and opinions are seen", says Berners-Lee. It has profoundly changed, and that a couple of "powerful platforms" are compressing what used to be a "rich selection of blogs and websites".

The inventor goes on to say that these so-called gatekeepers buy up innovations and talent in a bid to lock their position on the web.

Google now accounts for about 87 per cent of online searches worldwide. Companies are aware of the problems and are making efforts to fix them - with each change they make affecting millions of people. To ease the tensions, he suggested having a legal or regulatory framework in place to take account of social objections.

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. Berners-Lee said this will result in "far less" innovation over the next 20 years than that seen during the web's infancy. "On both points, we need to be a little more creative", he wrote.

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

For the first time ever, half the world's population is online. He also urged supporting policies that help women and the poor to have access to the web, plus the skills to compete in today's digital world. While the United Nations has declared internet access as a human right, mobile internet still isn't affordable in many developing countries which deprives many off the opportunities to learn and access valuable services. "If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042". That's an entire generation left behind. In Zimbabwe, it is almost 45 per cent.

It was this time a year ago when Sir Tim Berners-Lee called in his first open letter on users to help pressure governments and corporations over issues such as misinformation and data abuse.

Despite the numerous new products and services Facebook and Google roll out to users every now and then, advertising remains the only channel for meaningful profits, accounting for over 95 percent of the duo's total revenues. They also decide what content is and isn't allowed on the web. On Twitter, swarms of bots helped promote fake news stories.

Now, the country's Federal Election Commission is preparing to push through regulations for greater transparency on political ads on digital platforms.

"I'm still an optimist, but an optimist standing at the top of the hill with a nasty storm blowing in my face, hanging on to a fence", he told the Guardian in November.

Sir Tim invented the world wide web and first web browser in 1989 while working at CERN in Switzerland, and developed the world's first publicly available website in 1991.