The inventor of the World Wide Web has developed a global campaign aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of users on the Internet.
Tim Berners-Lee, a British-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, introduced a new "Contract for the Web" at the "Web Summit" technology conference in Lisbon on Monday.
The agreement contains a set of ethical principles that Berners-Lee and its World Wide Web Foundation hope will be accepted by governments, businesses and individuals.
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Tim Berners-Lee, a British-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, introduced a new "Contract for the Web" at the "Web Summit" technology conference in Lisbon on Monday
WHAT IS THE "CONTRACT FOR THE WEB"?
Tim Berners-Lee and his World Wide Web Foundation have launched a "Contract for the Web" that sets ethical principles for the Internet.
Governments urge them to ensure equal access to the Internet and to respect users' privacy.
Businesses should make the Internet affordable and accessible, respect the privacy of users, and develop technologies that support the best of humanity and challenge the worst.
The contract also encourages individuals to create content that is rich and relevant, build online communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity, and fight to keep the web open.
Since evangelizing the Internet nearly 30 years ago, Berners-Lee has become increasingly critical of Silicon Valley tech giants like Facebook and Google.
Now he is calling for larger web standards, as more than half of the world's population is supposed to be online.
"We need to make sure people connected to the Internet have the Internet they want," Berners-Lee said on the Web Summit stage.
"… and fix the many problems with the existing web and help others get online."
More than 50 organizations have already signed the contract, including Facebook, Google, Cloudflare, the French government, the Digital Empowerment Foundation and others.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and billionaire tech mogul Richard Branson also support the Contract for the Web.
A final version of the contract will be published in May 2019 when more than half of the world's population is online.
"The arch of the Web, initially for the first 15 years, was a time when most people just expected the Web to do great things," said Berners-Lee.
"They thought there would be good and bad, but if you connect humanity with technology, big things will surely happen."
With the advent of fake news, abuses of privacy, "people are being manipulated to be manipulated," deceptive ads and fake accounts, the Internet has developed a fair share of problems, Berners-Lee said.
More than 50 organizations have already signed the contract, including Facebook, Google, Cloudflare, the French government, the Digital Empowerment Foundation and others
The Treaty encourages governments to ensure that everyone has equal access to the Internet and to respect users' "fundamental right" over privacy, so they can be "free, secure and without fear online".
Businesses are urging them to make the Internet affordable and accessible, to respect consumers' privacy and personal information, and to develop technologies that "support the best in humanity and challenge the worst."
In addition, citizens should create web content that is "rich and relevant", build online communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome, and "fight for the web" to keep it open everyone.
The contract is funded by the Web Foundation's "For the Web" campaign.
Finally, Berners-Lee and the Web Foundation hope that the principles could be adopted by the United Nations or the G7.
The organization also considered issuing an annual report to show how closely governments and companies are following the treaty.
HOW DOES TIM BERNERS-LEE CREATE THE INTERNET?
The World Wide Web was founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist born on June 8, 1955.
After studying physics at Queen's College, Oxford in 1976, he graduated as an engineer in telecommunications and microprocessor software.
While working as an independent contractor at CERN in 1980, Berners-Lee described the concept of a global system based on the use of hypertext to exchange information among researchers.
Tim Berners-Lee (pictured) wrote the plan for the future World Wide Web and said he was worried about what happened to him last year
He built a prototype system called Inquire, which formed the conceptual foundation for the World Wide Web.
In 1989 he published his pioneering paper "Information Management: A Proposal" and built the first WWW server and web browser "WorldWideWeb.app".
In 1994 he founded the World Wide Web Consortium, the main international standardization organization for the Internet.
"The idea is that everyone in the future is responsible for making the Web a better Internet in different ways," said Berners-Lee at the Web Summit.
The proposal received support from Google and Facebook, which highlighted Berners-Lee's role as the "gatekeeper" of the Internet and how they "control what ideas and opinions are seen and shared".
Last week, Berners-Lee said in an interview that technology giants like Facebook and Google have become so powerful that they have to be dissolved.
Berners-Lee has also started a startup called Inrupt to build a decentralized web where users can better control their own data.