32-Page “Contract for the Web” Released by Internet’s Creator, Claims Free Access Has Led to the Sale of Personal Data

  • The “Contract for the Web” includes nine principles, surrounding what is expected of governments, citizens, and companies.
  • Some of the organizations included are French and German governments and Google.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is known for his work as founder of the web. Recently, Decrypt published an article about his release of a new document that Berners-Lee wrote, titled “Contract for the Web.” The document describes, across 32 pages, the commitments that governments and companies around the world should take to “guide digital policy agendas.” There are nine principles included in these materials.

This is hardly the first time that Berners-Lee has voiced his disdain for the current state of the Web, stating that the free access to it has ultimately led to substantial cybersecurity issues and the monetization of personal data. He is presently working with MIT to develop a project called Solid, which he hopes will help with the rebuilding of the Web. He is also hoping that others will join up with his efforts on these concerns.

Speaking with The Guardian, Berners-Lee stated,

“If we leave the web as it is, there’s a very large number of things that will go wrong. We could end up with a digital dystopia if we don’t turn things around. It’s not that we need a 10-year plan for the web, we need to turn the web around now.”

The contract took a year of working groups, which involved ten organizations, and was deliberated amongst 80 signatories. Some of the organizations included the French and German governments, Wikimedia, and Google. Other supporters of the project include Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, but cryptocurrency companies are notably absent from the endorsers of the project.

At the government level, the document advises that every citizen should be able to connect with the internet, which should be made available all of the time. Governments are also called to both protect and respect the right that individuals have to maintain the privacy of their online activity and data.

Companies involved are urged to make affordable options to make it easy for consumers to access the Web. They also are urged to respect and protect data, just like the governments are encouraged to while developing technology that can “support the best in humanity and challenge the worst,” as described in the Decrypt article.

Citizens are encouraged to create and collaborate online while developing strong communities. These communities should be respectful and should fight for the Web to be a dignified place.

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