Don't leave half the world offline and behind, urges Web founder

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

Berners-Lee confessed he's "increasingly worried" about how the Web is evolving. The "Contract for the Web" is a set of principles seemingly created to make the internet a better place amid growing concerns emancipating from a wide array of issues from hate speech to political manipulation.

You can access the full list by clicking the link but they include the French government, Access Now, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Internet Sans Frontières, Project Isizwe and the NewNow, and a slew of powerful companies that include Google, AnchorFree, Cloudflare and Facebook.

"All kinds of things have gone wrong".

However, in his view, they "suggest some concerns", particularly in issues such as privacy and online security, which he pointed out showing images of fake profiles on social networks and manipulation on the internet. So yeah, there are lots of issues with the Web. It reveals that less than half the world's population is online today, and that the growth of internet users is slowing. However, as the Web increases in power, this is having the unintended effect of increasing the digital divide, Berners-Lee argued.

"We've an obligation to look after both parts of the world". He believes there is a growing sense that it is failing to live up to its promise and has called on all of us to stand up and fight for the web we want.

"We need to make sure that people who are connected to the web can create the world they want and use it to correct the problems that exist", he said, calling the internet "more peaceful and more constructive".

The Contract released by the World Wide Web Foundation requires all governments to treat privacy as a fundamental human right. Think of it as a canonical source of data for your online data, which can then be easily shared with businesses or governments, whilst always maintaining control.

"The web is for everybody, and so if the web is for everyone the contract has got to be for everyone", he said.

Why a contract? Why not a manifesto? The Contract for the Web is about everything. The contract means a real commitment to dignity, justice and equality from governments, companies and citizens.

Repentant, or disappointed, the pioneers of the web intend to take advantage of the Web Summit to demonstrate that the dream of an internet that would take the best of ourselves can still be done. It's already amassed a wealth of supporters, including Google, Facebook, Innovation Award victor and Young Global Leader honoree Mariéme Jamme, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, and many more. In-the-textbooks well known in fact, for inventing the world wide web.

Unfortunately, Berners-Lee reveals that it will be hard to see the contract's success. Getting all parties together to agree on a contract to live and work by - if it can become embedded as the guiding foundation for everything - may go some way to correcting the direction of the Web. However, as we know, commercial and political interests are strong.

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