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Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches 'Magna Carta for the web' to save internet from abuse

Published: November 6, 2018
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Source: yahoo.com

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a "Magna Carta for the web", warning that tech giants must change their ways to save the online world from the dangerous forces they have unleashed.

Sir Tim, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, called for a "revolution" in how the internet is regulated and monetised in order to stem abuse, political polarisation and fake news. 

The 63-year-old was speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon to launch a new "contract for the web" which asks internet companies to uphold a set of principles such as protecting privacy and being transparent about their algorithms. 

Facebook and Google have backed the contract, which will be agreed in detail next year, despite both companies being mentioned by its creator as examples of how "the web we know and love" is under threat.

Sir Tim said: "For the first 15 years, most people just expected the web to do great things. They thought 'there'll be good and bad, that is humanity, but if you connect humanity with technology, great things will happen....

"What could go wrong? Well, duh: all kinds of things have gone wrong since. We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have problems with abuse of personal data, we have people being profiled in a way that they can be manipulated by clever ads."

Sir Tim, who developed the Web as a "side project" while working at the Cern research laboratory in Switzerland in the Eighties, has become increasingly vocal about what he sees as a perversion of his original vision.

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For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair last month. "I was devastated" he said while going through a litany of harmful and dangerous developments of the past three decades of the web. That's why "the Father of the World Wide Web" has launched a start-up that intends to end the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, while in the process letting individuals take back control of their own data.

The European Parliment has passed a controversial copyright directive that contains provisions which force tech giants to install content filters and sets in place a potential tax on hyperlinking. The bill was passed in a final vote of 438 – 226 and will need to be implemented by individual EU member states.

As the European Parliament prepares for tomorrow's vote on the new Copyright Directivewith its provisions requiring mass-scale filtering of all public communications to check for copyright infringement (Article 13) and its provisions requiring paid permission to link to the news if you include as little as two words from the headline in your link text (Article 11), a dismaying number of "creators groups" are supporting it, telling their members that this will be good for them and their flagging financial fortunes.

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