Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, has launched a new campaign called ‘Contract for the Web’. With this he wants to move governments and companies to guarantee a free and open internet, protect rights and improve access to the internet.
Through his own organization called Web Foundation, Berners-Lee has publicized the new campaign. This ‘contract’ is about preserving an open internet as a basic right for everyone, to which governments, companies and citizens can contribute by adhering to a number of principles. For example, governments must ensure that everyone can access the internet, they must protect the privacy of users and keep the entire internet available and not block or block parts.
In addition, according to the contract, companies must, for example, ensure that the internet is affordable and that the privacy and personal data of consumers are respected. Finally, there are also some principles for citizens: Tim Berners-Lee calls on them to fight for the Internet so that it is and remains an open source for the public and he hopes that strong communities will continue to be formed, using proper language and the human dignity comes first.
The idea is that the contract will be ready by May next year. That period was not chosen arbitrarily; around that time, half of the total world population is expected to be online. Berners-Lee doesn’t see that as a milestone so that we can rest on our laurels, but says that the web is at a crucial point. He emphasizes that half of the world’s population does not yet have internet access and that the speed at which more people access it is declining dramatically. In addition, he argues that those who do have access will face developments that threaten their rights and freedoms. To put a stop to this, Berners-Lee wants a new contract for the web, with clear responsibilities for everyone to improve the situation.
Furthermore, based on a recent report published by the Web Foundation, the founder of the web finds that more than 1.2 billion people live in countries where net neutrality is not protected and 1.5 billion people live in places where there is no or no good laws to ensure the protection of personal data.
Berners-Lee has been working on these themes for some time. For example, in July he launched the Solid project to decentralize the web and break the power of large internet companies; recently he said that big companies like Google and Facebook may have to be cut up to curtail their dominance. And in 2017, he already expressed his concerns about the large-scale data collection by companies and the lack of control over this.
The Contract for the Web has the support of nearly 60 organizations, companies, governments and citizens, including Facebook, Google, the French government, Cloudflare and billionaire Richard Branson. Amazon, like Google and Facebook, is mentioned in the report, but unlike the other two, Amazon has not yet signed the contract. The Financial Times has asked Amazon for a response based on this, but Jeff Bezos’ company has not yet responded.
Berners-Lee came up with a plan for creating the World Wide Web in 1989 as a CERN employee, because he saw that scientists were struggling to exchange information about particle accelerators. The scientist suggested that his colleagues at CERN could share documents over the Internet using plaintext and hyperlinks. To this end, he designed http and html, which eventually led to the introduction of the world wide web.