The World Wide Web is 25 years old and to mark the occasion, the inventor Tim Berners-Lee has asked web users to take action over some haunting questions about who and why the internet is used.
Berners-Lee put forward a paper on March 12, 1989 suggesting scientists could link their computers into a web of information providing access to their ideas, notes and papers.
When he switched on the first server, little did he know how his idea would blossom into the World Wide Web and start to transform into the internet of all things enveloping millions of gadgets and appliances.
The web is truly worldwide, with users in every country taking part to some extent.
But that’s where the problems start for Berners-Lee as he compares today’s internet with his original vision for the World Wide Web.
In a guest post on Google to celebrate the silver anniversary, he poses some questions that he feels the rest of us need to consider and answer:
- How can we ensure that the other 60% around the world who are not connected get online fast?
- How can we make sure the web supports all languages and cultures?
- How do we build open standards to link the coming internet of things?
- Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the open web and the freedom it gives everyone to say, discover, and create anything?
- How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public?
“The web has generated economic value worth trillions of dollars, transformed education and activated democracy in many nations. And we’re just getting started,” said Berners-Lee.
Have your say
“By design, the internet is non-hierarchical, decentralised and open to everyone. The web works with any information, on any device, with any software, in any language. Anyone can link to any piece of information without permission.
“Key decisions on governing and the internet are looming as some governments and organisations seek to exert control of how the World Wide Web is used, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future.”
Berners-Lee is inviting anyone who has something to say about the future of the internet to leave a birthday message on the web site Web At 25