Kim Kardashian claims to have broken the internet back at the end of 2014; now the world wide web's own inventor is having a go.
In a blog post posted on Medium on Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee outlined his plans for a new, fairer internet and commented on how the web he created has evolved into an engine of inequity and division. This isn't the first time recently that he has spoken out on the matter. In fact, earlier this year he spoke to Vanity Fair about the issue of fake news, mass surveillance and how he "was devastated" about recent internet scandals, such as Russian interference in the US election and Cambridge Analytica harvesting the data of 87 million Facebook users.
Berners-Lee says the centralisation of it has “ended up producing— with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform — a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.” It has become a platform that is monopolised by huge tech companies with little regard for those with an interest in privacy or open data. Mark Zuckerberg uses his self-styled "social mission" of connectedness as an excuse for invasive practices and Google has appeared confused that "clear all cookies" included its own cookies.
Re-decentralising the internet is going to be a lot harder than inventing it was in the first place for Berners-Lee. However, the father of the web is certainly trying with his ambitious, new, decentralised platform, aimed at taking on the corporate tech giants (and their own agendas).
With the open source project, Solid, users are given the final say over personal information, where the data goes, who's allowed to see certain elements and which apps can access that data. Who knows about widespread adoption, but it sounds like a solid start to me - maybe Berners-Lee should speak to Kim to really up the ante?!
I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas. Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary.