The battle for a free internet
Citizens vs. governments as the next generation of the internet unfolds
It’s 31 years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web; and he is the first to admit that many things have gone wrong since his original dream. Sir Tim envisaged, in his own words, “an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.”
Certainly the internet has achieved that – but increasingly it is a place where trolls attack with crude, vicious posts; where governments and political groups twist reality to their own ends; and where our individual privacy is constantly under threat from avaricious businesses. Now millions of ordinary citizens have joined a global campaign demanding that politicians and businesses that hijack the web to peddle their own ‘alternative realities’ should back off.
Berners-Lee and his Web Foundation are spearheading several initiatives. They’re fighting governments seeking to manipulate and control the web, and supporting efforts all over the world from citizen groups to do the same.
They’re deploying new technologies to return ownership of personal data to the people who create it, and to implement micropayment systems to reward individuals for commercial usage of their data. And, working with the web giants, they’re employing new super-algorithms to silence the trolls, the terrorists and other purveyors of misinformation.
Looking back, perhaps we have a reason to thank Donald Trump. After all, it was his blatant abuse of reality and truth, that made freedom of the internet such a cause célèbre.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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