In 1990, he launched the first web server and started the revolution. Thanks to it, the Internet has spread all over the world, into all areas of our lives, and has created a billion online industry. But Tim Berners-Lee is not satisfied with how the internet looks today. After ten years of development, he showed how to change it.
Hacker attacks, private data leaks, secret campaigns, misinformation, espionage, monopoly behavior of large companies, loss of privacy. The list of complaints concerning the functioning of the modern Internet is not very short.
Among the leading critics is a man whose words are of great importance among computer network specialists. Few have done so much for the Internet as Tim Berners-Lee. Those who say they come up with a “new generation Internet” are a lot. When the same person says the one who invented the “first internet”, it pays to listen to it. Especially when we think it’s not a bad idea.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who was awarded the knighthood title for his “credit for global expansion and development,” has dedicated the past thirty years to providing the development of Internet standards. Now comes with a project that has a radical ambition.
The Web was created as a project of a frustrated programmer
“In 1989, I wrote a proposal for a global information hypertext system,” Tim Berners-Lee remembered with a twenty-year break. A British scientist, programmer, and visionary invented HTTP while working in CERN and is rightly named one of the “fathers of the Internet”.
At first, his suggestion was not to change the world. For a year and a half no one responded. “That’s how innovation works. Until eighteen months ago, my boss told me that I could work on the project at work, play a little bit of it. And so I sketched the HTML language, designed URLs, programmed the web server and launched it into the world, “remembers Tim Berners-Lee.
The primary motivation for his project of a universal information system – now known as the World Wide Web – was frustration for Berners-Lee: “I worked as a computer scientist in a vast laboratory with lots of different computers. And each computer had its own documentation system. “These systems were not only incompatible but they were not even easy to search for them. “For everyone, I had to learn a new program or work with another format of data. I was frustrated with that untapped potential. “
It was all documents, Berners-Lee realized. So it was – at least theoretically – conceivable that they could all be in the same format. “Once I had this idea, I could not get rid of it,” the founder recalls.
At first he had to convince his colleagues that it matters. Nowadays, what we consider to be self-evident did not seem particularly peculiar. “I showed them that I click on the underlined part of the website and go to another website. But it did not scare anyone, Hypertext systems already existed. It was hard to explain that the link can go anywhere, practically any document in the world. “
But gradually, a bunch of enthusiasts were wrapped around the WWW project, first at CERN, then in other academic workplaces. Soon, hundreds, thousands, millions of pages were created on the web.
Since then, Tim Berners-Lee has not had to explain to people what the site could do for it, and that the links are useful. New and new ways to use the website each month. And how to make money through the Internet.
The money the online revolution promised has greatly accelerated the already rapid Internet development. According to his inventor, however, some large companies that have grown on the web have embezzled the original Internet ideals of openness in order to increase profits.
“In the beginning, the Donquichoth era was on the Internet,” says Berners-Lee. “Everything was very decentralized. The individual had everything in their hands. There was no central authority you would have to ask for permission to try something. This feeling of individual freedom is something we’ve come to. “
“I was following the development of the Internet and I was sick of it!”
The Internet can become both a tool of understanding and a tool of destruction, Berners-Lee realized. When he remembers how the Internet is abusive to manipulate, censor or smirk, he is physically disgusted, he said in a Vanity Fair interview: “I’m out of it,” he said.
“It turns out that the Internet has been disappointed by humanity where it has helped humanity.” The gradual centralization of the internet, resulting, for example, from the dominant position of large Internet companies, results in a “phenomenon that goes directly against the interests of people,” Berners-Lee thinks. And against the ideas of those who have designed the internet and the web as a decentralized system.
His reaction to this disappointment is worthy of a knight who does not give up. For the last ten years, Berners-Lee has been lecturing, lecturing, and programming. Together with his colleagues from MIT and the newly established company Inrupt, he is involved in the project of a new, decentralized Internet.
How did we lose free internet?
“The Internet has become a tool of inequality and divides society. It is dominated by powerful players who have their own goals. “
“I’ve always believed that the internet is for everyone. That’s why I and many others struggle hard to protect it, “wrote Tim Berners-Lee in September 2018 on his blog. According to him, the Internet has contributed to a better, more interconnected world. “But despite all the good that the Internet has brought, the Web has become a tool that promotes inequality and division of society. It is dominated by powerful players who have their own goals. “
According to the founder of the site, the situation has reached the point where it is necessary to look for a change. He himself wants to contribute with his Solid project. “The Internet has become a tremendous part of our lives. The task of technologists should not only be to add new features. Because our online personalities, private affairs, medical affairs are happening on the Internet, we realize that it’s like human rights, “said Tim Berners-Lee in an interview with Bloomberg.
Tim Berners-Lee on the importance of open and free internet:
World Wide Web Founder on Trump, Fake News, AI
Keeping the internet open and neutral is an important task, according to Berners-Lee. This openness threatens censorship, shyness, manipulation, and other problems. But also large online companies that have a monopoly in their industries, such as Facebook on social networks, Google among search engines, Amazon in the online shopping sphere.
This reflects on privacy issues: “Our privacy is extremely important. People are already aware of it. They know they should have their data under control. First, it was clear in medical data, but it is gradually shifting to other types of private data. “
Data must belong directly to users, not to companies
Now, a regular user has only limited control over their data. Usually, the data is either stored on a computer, and can not be easily downloaded online. Or he has some big company on the servers that analyzes and controls his data.
“Solid changes the current model in which users have to pass their data to digital giants to get the service they want in exchange for the data,” Berners-Lee explains. “As we have seen, it is not in the best interest of users.”
According to him, you need to move the web towards decentralized private data storage. The Solid project offers an open-source solution that gives user data back to the hands of users.