• World Half Full

A plan to protect the web

TECHNOLOGY

The inventor of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, is spearheading a bold action plan to protect the worldwide web from political manipulation, fake news, and other dark forces that threaten to create a “digital dystopia”. The Contract for the Web has been created by representatives from more than 80 organisations — including governments, companies and civil groups. The website blurb states the aim is to “make sure our online world is safe, empowering and genuinely for everyone.”


Currently, half of the world’s population is denied online access. “For the other half, the web’s benefits seem to come with far too many unacceptable risks: to our privacy, our democracy, our health and our security.” The initiative hopes to address these threats and guide the digital policy agendas of governments, and the decisions of companies as new technologies emerge. It sets out concrete actions they must take to “build a web that works for all humanity.”


Adrian Lovett, president of the World Wide Web Foundation — the organisation behind the plan — told NS Tech: “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the web is still an incredible force for good. By helping people access healthcare and education, by reducing unemployment and by coordinating global action on the most important issues of our time, the web continues to change billions of lives for the better. But we’re at a tipping point.” Berners-Lee agrees: “If we don’t act now, and act together, to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering that potential.” ​

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