Access and Feeds

Contract for the Web: Guidelines to Tame the Beast

By Dick Weisinger

Tim Berners-Lee, often recognized as the “inventor” of the internet, has done some recent soul searching. The path of the internet has recently veered away from his original concept and he wants to try to bring it back closer to his original vision.

To do that, he’s introduced what he calls a “Contract for the Web.” It is a set of principles that have been endorsed by 50 organizations, including the French government, Google and Facebook.

The plan offers a solution to “fix” issues that have arisen, like privacy and truthfulness, that have grabbed headlines in the last few years. It attempts to prevent the internet from “sliding into a digital dystopia.”

Berners-Lee said that “the web is at a crucial point. We need a new Contract for the Web, with clear and tough responsibilities for those who have the power to make it better.”

The proposed contract lists nine principles that governments, businesses and individuals should all adhere to. These include affordable internet access and respect for civil discourse and human dignity.

Berners-Lee said that “I think people’s fear of bad things happening on the internet is becoming, justifiably, greater and greater. 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.”

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