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

English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web delivers a speech during an event at the CERN in Meyrin near Geneva Switzerland

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"We will have failed the web".

This year, outside his regular annual writing, the 63-year-old scientist made an onstage appearance at his old employer, CERN, to reiterate the idea of the "Contract for the Web", a framework to govern the use of the internet he first proposed in November 2018.

March 12 is a special day in the history of the Internet - it is the birthday of the World Wide Web.

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

Tim Berners-Lee was in his early 30s when he submitted the idea at work, a physics laboratory in Switzerland.

The "http" system allowed text and small images to be retrieved through a piece of software - the first browser - which Berners-Lee released in 1990 and is considered the start of the web. Berners-Lee worked there in the late 1980s, and had been determined to help bridge a communications and documentation gap among different computer platforms.

"The web is not the web we wanted in every respect". Through a variety of initiatives, Berners-Lee is working to change that.

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"As the web reshaped our world, we have the responsibility to make sure it is recognised as a human right and built for the public good", he said. "It's our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible, and inclusive future".

Berners-Lee spelled out what he believes are the web's biggest issues, which include state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behavior, and online harassment.

Another issue, he says, is "clickbait", where revenue models reward the spread of misinformation. Finally, there are the unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, which includes the "outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse".

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In his annual letter on the web's birthday, Berners-Lee on Monday expressed optimism about what can be achieved in the next thirty years.

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

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Some tough regulation may be necessary in some places, in others not, Berners-Lee said.

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