World Wide Web inventor says his creation has been abused for too long


Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has called for more emphasis on tackling the power imbalance on the web.

Speaking to Fujitsu CTO Vivek Mahajan at the company’s ActivateNow Summit, attended by Tech Radar Pro, Berners-Lee suggested that his creation had strayed from its original mission.

“The vision was that the Web should be for anyone and everything. Being independent of computer, network, and language was really important. But we need to make sure users have a really useful and constructive website, and there are a lot of things that we need to fix,” he said.

“Right now, people’s data is being misused by large corporations to understand and manipulate it. Another problem is that all my private data is stored by online platforms and locked in silos, so I can’t really use it. We have a lack of individual accountability.

solid pods

Berners-Lee’s solution to these problems is a commitment to building what he calls Solid Pods, decentralized data stores that give users granular control over who has access to their private data.

That’s the goal of his company, Inrupt, which partners with businesses and governments to expand access to Solid Pods and build systems built on mutual trust.

In an ideal world, says Berners-Lee, the individual has the power to use the entire spectrum of data (which ranges from publicly available data on the one hand to private information like medical results on the other). and control what data is shared, and with whom.

“When everything is set up on the basis of trust, the user will also share more powerfully; they will share their data not only with doctors, but also with researchers working on cancer treatments, for example. It’s a system based on intentional economics, driven by the intention of the person who wants to do things,” he explained.

He also says it’s time for smartphones, tablets and other devices to serve their owners, as opposed to the companies that make them or develop the operating system.

“When you ask a device what it works for, the answer shouldn’t be, ‘A big company is exploiting you for all the data they can get, to trick you into buying things you wouldn’t otherwise buy’ Going forward, the response should be, “I work for you, I’m your agent,” Berners-Lee said.

“When we’re looking for things to buy on the internet or deciding how to spend the day, the device must have the user’s best interests in mind. Our technology must work for the individual.

Though the scale of the problem is sobering, Berners-Lee says he’s optimistic about the maturing of the web, which he hopes will become a more collaborative space built around the interests of the individual.


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