Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches new ‘Contract for the Web’

Isaac Cain
November 9, 2018

He called on governments, companies and citizens to iron out a "complete contract" for the web that will make the internet "safe and accessible" for all by May 2019, the date by which 50 percent of the world will be online for the first time.

TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Contract for the Web that has received support from Internet giants, including Google, is a set of principles created to defend a free and open Internet.

Its starter principles define the responsibilities that governments, companies and citizens each hold, to create a better web.

Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyoneSo that no one is excluded from using and shaping the web.

Berners-Lee highlighted studies showing that half of the world population will be online by next year - but the rate of take-up was slowing considerably, potentially leaving billions cut off from government services, education and public debate.

Respect consumers' privacy and personal dataSo people are in control of their lives online.

"For many years there was a feeling that the wonderful things on the web were going to dominate and we'd have a world with less conflict, more understanding, more and better science, and good democracy", Berners-Lee told the Guardian.

"We are encouraging governments, companies and citizens around the world to commit to these principles, and to help protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone", the contract read. He wants all of us to be creators and collaborators, build strong communities in which everyone feels safe and welcome our part in fighting for the web to remain open and globally available.

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These principles are backed by the organisation's Case for the Web report.

The distributed power of the web has shifted to lay in the hands of just a few, online abuse is on the rise, and the content we see is increasingly susceptible to manipulation.

Several news reports cite the 63-year-old MIT professor as pointing to information leaks from Facebook, which saw almost 90 million of its users' personal data compromised, as an example of a handful of tech giants having too much power.

"Tim Berners-Lee has pinpointed one of the great human rights issues of our time and his proposal deserves worldwide support."
"Do me a favour, fight for it with me".

In addition, Berners-Lee has also recently established a small startup called Inrupt, which will promote uptake of an open-source project called Solid - both of which allow users to take control of their own data.

Web Summit, Europe's biggest technology conference, is helping to stoke a "reboot" of Portugal's capital city as a start-up hub as the country continues its emergence from a crippling debt crisis, the event's founder said.

Since net neutrality was repealed in the USA at the end of 2017, fears have grown around what this might mean for end-users and businesses alike. "You should put an effort like the people who make Wikipedia and try to work toward truth", he said.

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