Inventor of the Web Prepares to Launch Web 3.0, Predicts Privacy Revolution

Sunday, November 25, 2018
By Paul Martin

by C. Mitchell Shaw
Sunday, 25 November 2018

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (shown), believes that “the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.” To correct that and “restore the power and agency of individuals on the web,” Berners-Lee is preparing to re-invent the web.

Due to the growing prevalence of the twin evils of data-mining and data-manipulation, the web — created to be a free and open platform — has instead become a place where users find themselves robbed of both their privacy and easy access to reliable information on which they could base sound decisions. Take as just one example, the Cambridge Analytica breach of Facebook last year. By the time the dust settled and the smoke cleared, at least 50 million (and possibly as many as 87 million) users had their data harvested and used to manipulate their (and their friends’) votes in the 2016 presidential election.

And while that example points to Facebook, the reality is that the social media giant is far from alone. Other tech behemoths, including Google, Microsoft, and others, are also guilty of practicing “surveillance as a feature,” wherein users are tricked into handing over the digital keys to their lives in exchange for “benefits” such as easy syncing of calendars and address books. As a matter of course, these companies then misuse that data for their own benefit. With Google, Facebook, and Twitter routinely filtering search results and users’ timelines in favor of political candidates and policies favored by the decision makers at those companies, it is no wonder that the inventor of the web said that he has reached a “tipping point” where he sees that “people are reading stuff which is complete garbage and they’re believing it, and they vote.”

When asked specifically about that statement, Berners-Lee said, “Science tells us what to believe are facts,” adding, “And democracy relies on facts. So democracy relies on science.” He went on to say, “People don’t follow links from one website to another, they sit on one website, and what they see is determined by the people who code that social network.”

While this writer may take exception with Berners-Lee’s use of the word “democracy” (the United States is a republic, a government of law wherein the rights of the individual is protected regardless of the whims of the majority), his point is valid. As Mark Twain is quoted as saying — though, ironically, he may never have said it — “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” When people glean a disproportionate amount of what they think they know from a small handful of platforms — and those platforms are operated by people who are only too glad to manipulate the flow of information while harvesting users’ data to analyze it and use it to further manipulate those users’ thought processes — the very foundation on which the value of voting rests is at stake.

To rectify the web’s transmogrification “into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas,” Berners-Lee is preparing to launch “Web 3.0” and has written a Contract for the Web to express the digital rights of users.

His new “Contract for the Web” begins by laying out what he sees as “Core Principles” stating:

The web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the web serves humanity. By committing to the following principles, governments, companies and citizens around the world can help protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone.

The Rest…HERE

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