Internet inventor wants contract to make web safe

Sir Tim Berners Lee

"We've lost control of our personal data and that data is being weaponised against us".

Berners-Lee told the opening of the Europe's largest technology conference that everyone had assumed his breakthrough in 1989, that connected humanity to technology, would lead to good things - and it had for a while.

Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, launches Contract for the Web that encourages companies to agree to let individuals own and control their data and importantly to allow mobility of data.

Berners-Lee's contract for better internet sets principles for governments, companies and individual internet users.

"All kinds of things have gone wrong". He is advocating that everyone sign his "Contract for the Web" which outlines a series of core principles promoting privacy protections and securing internet access for everyone.

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.

Develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worstSo the web really is a public good that puts people first.

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"It is an economy of addiction, like gambling or video games", said Mitchell Baker, the chairperson of the Mozilla foundation, she will also be invited to the Web Summit, in an interview with the AFP. "Tim Berners-Lee has pinpointed one of the great human rights issues of our time and his proposal deserves worldwide support", he said.

Berners-Lee concedes it will be hard to measure the success of the contract, which will be promoted through a campaign called #ForTheWeb. It's a delicate balancing act, but limiting some freedoms could end up creating a fairer, more open Web.

So the web remains open and a global public resource for people everywhere, now and in the future.

More recently he has been vocal about the power wielded by big tech companies, whose financial, political and social influence outweighs many nations. "We believe it offers an important opportunity to step back and examine the responsibilities we all have to make sure the web delivers on its promise", a spokesperson said. The contract means a real commitment to dignity, justice and equality from governments, companies and citizens.

Roya Mahboob, founder of the Afghan Girls Robotics Club, said: "The contract for the web comes at a ideal time for women and girls around the world to speak truth to power, call out injustice and seize new opportunities". The Web Foundation says that most people who aren't yet online live in poor countries. "Maybe it's a myth", Berners-Lee said, pushing back on the idea that tech companies need to collect data to be profitable.

"If we spend a certain amount of time using the internet we have to spend a little proportion of that time defending it, worrying about it, looking out for it..."

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