Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Scenarios – World Wide Web

In an open letter on the World Wide Web Foundation website, the inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, warned of major challenges ahead and explained that too much of the web and people’s personal data is under the control of a handful of mega-corporations and urged the tech industry and users to fix the internet’s problems. On the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web he invented, he shared his concerns that the “The threats to the web today are real and many, including those that I described in my last letter – from misinformation and questionable political advertising to a loss of control over our personal data,” Berners-Lee said in his letter.

Discussing the risks of fake news and hacking, he wrote: “The fact that power is concentrated among so few companies has made it possible to weaponise the web at scale. In recent years, we’ve seen fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data.” Berners-Lee believes the web needs to be more open, rather than users’ experiences being defined by the web giants.

“While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people – and can be fixed by people. “Two myths currently limit our collective imagination: the myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points, we need to be a little more creative,” Berners-Lee wrote.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee believes the General Data Protection Regulation offers organisations a way to return data control back to the user, and is not just a tick-box exercise for regulatory compliance.

Objectsoft has long held this view – it is a regulatory business process – and when the inventor of the web offers this view, there is reason for optimism.

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