At 30, World Wide Web ‘not the web we wanted,’ inventor says

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"The web is not the web we wanted in every respect". It won't be easy. "If we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want", he added.

"The Contract for the Web is about sitting down in working groups with other people who signed up, and to say, 'OK, let's work out what this really means, '" Berners-Lee said.

March 1989: Tim Berners-Lee's proposal "Information management: a proposal" was circulated for comments at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN.

English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee 3rd left on the podium best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web attends an event at the CERN in Meyrin near Geneva Switzerland
How to save the Internet

A major aspect of his vision for the future of the web requires rethinking personal data.

"Thank goodness it wasn't "Exciting but vague", Berners-Lee said. Berners-Lee was just trying to troubleshoot an annoying issue when he composed his proposal.

To Berners-Lee, the web is a "mirror of humanity" where "you will see good and bad".

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Berners-Lee launched a campaign called "Contract for the Web" at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal, last year.

October 1990: Lee wrote the first web browser while employed at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. "It must be clear enough to act as a guiding star for the way forward but flexible enough to adapt to the rapid pace of change in technology". He also could not foresee the proliferation of hacking, criminal behaviour and hatred now spread online.

Citing the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a turning point for the people's relationship with the web, he pointed to the biggest three dangers facing web users today - malicious activity, business models that reward clickbait, and unintended consequences such as aggression and angry discourse, but warned that tackling them would require all parties to act. Users too should do their best to advocate for a free, open and safe web and "Foster constructive healthy conversations online".

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According to him, the fight for the web is one of the most important causes of the present generation.

Thirty years later, around half the world's population is online - but tech giants that dominate the internet, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have been criticized in recent years for failing to stem the spread of misinformation and harassment on their platforms.

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