Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Monday slammed the increasing commodification of personal information and appealed for internet users to strive to maintain “complete control” of their data.

Berners-Lee, credited with creating the web in 1989, is on a mission to save his invention from a range of problems increasingly dominating online life, including misinformation and a lack of data protection.

“You should have complete control of your data. It’s not oil. It’s not a commodity,” he told a small group of journalists gathered at Europe’s physics lab CERN, where he first came up with the idea for the web 30 years ago.

When it comes to personal data, “you should not be able to sell it for money,” he said, “because it’s a right”.

Berners-Lee, who last year launched a development platform called “Solid” aimed at giving users control of their data, described a frightening future if we do not rise to the challenge of privacy protection.

“There is a possible future you can imagine (in which) your browser keeps track of everything that you buy,” he said.

In this scenario, “your browser actually has more information then Amazon does”, he said, warning against complacency in expecting no harm will come from this loss of control over one’s own data.

“We shouldn’t assume that the world is going to stay like it is,” he said.

People needed to do more to protect themselves and their data and not to simply expect that governments will look out for their best interests, he argued.

Berners-Lee told a Washington Post event last week that he launched the Solid projet in response to concerns about personal data being bought and sold without the consent of users.

– ‘Don’t fail the web –

The platform aimed “to separate the apps from the data storage” so users could decide where and how they would share their personal information, he said.

He acknowledged Monday that enforcible laws would be needed to protect the most sensitive personal data.

“Sometimes it has to be legislation which says personal data, you know, genetic data, should never be used,” he said.

In addition to his work advocating for data protection, Berners-Lee has launched a “Contract for the Web”, aimed at ensuring the integrity of online information.

In a letter published Monday, he hailed the opportunities the web had created, giving marginalised groups a voice and making daily life easier.

But he warned, “it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crimes easier to commit”.

He was nevertheless optimistic that the problems could be fixed.

“Given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30,” he wrote.

“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”

Internet users must fight to keep control of their data, says the inventor of the World Wide Web, British scientist Tim Berners-Lee

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://au.news.yahoo.com/inventor-urges-users-seek-complete-control-data-210123158–spt.html

At age 30, World Wide Web is ‘not the web we wanted’

At the ripe old age of 30 and with half the globe using it, the World Wide Web is facing growing pains with issues like hate speech, privacy concerns and state-sponsored hacking, its creator says, trumpeting a call to make it better for humanity.

Tim Berners-Lee on Tuesday joined a celebration of the Web and reminisced about his invention at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, starting with a proposal published on March 12, 1989. It opened the way to a technological revolution that has transformed the way people buy goods, share ideas, get information and much more.

It’s also become a place where tech titans scoop up personal data, rival governments spy and seek to scuttle elections, and hate speech and vitriol have thrived — taking the Web far from its roots as a space for progress-oriented minds to collaborate.

As of late 2018, half of the world was online, with the other half often struggling to secure access.

Speaking at a “Web@30” conference at CERN, Berners-Lee acknowledged that a sense among many who are already on the Web has become: “Whoops! The web is not the web we wanted in every respect.”

His World Wide Web Foundation wants to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a greater role in shaping the web for good under principles laid out in its “Contract for the Web.”

Under the contract, governments are called upon to make sure everyone can connect to the internet, to keep it available and to respect privacy. Companies are to make the internet affordable, respect privacy and develop technology that will put people — and the “public good” — first. Citizens are to create and to cooperate and respect “civil discourse,” among other things.

“The Contract for the Web is about sitting down in working groups with other people who signed up, and to say, ‘Ok, let’s work out what this really means,’” Berners-Lee said. It was unclear, however, how such rules would be enforced.

Berners-Lee cautioned it was important to strike a balance between oversight and freedom but difficult to agree what it should be.

“Where is the balance between leaving the tech companies to do the right thing and regulating them? Where is the balance between freedom of speech and hate speech?” he said.

The conference, which brought together Internet and tech experts, also gave CERN the chance to showcase its reputation as an open-source incubator of ideas. Berners-Lee worked there in the late 1980s, and had been determined to help bridge a communications and documentation gap among different computer platforms.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://apnews.com/1a944fcf10c445f2a87fcd5c2d0320e5

Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches ‘Magna Carta for the web’ to save internet from abuse

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a “Magna Carta for the web”, warning that tech giants must change their ways to save the online world from the dangerous forces they have unleashed.

Sir Tim, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, called for a “revolution” in how the internet is regulated and monetised in order to stem abuse, political polarisation and fake news.

The 63-year-old was speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon to launch a new “contract for the web” which asks internet companies to uphold a set of principles such as protecting privacy and being transparent about their algorithms.

Facebook and Google have backed the contract, which will be agreed in detail next year, despite both companies being mentioned by its creator as examples of how “the web we know and love” is under threat.

Sir Tim said: “For the first 15 years, most people just expected the web to do great things. They thought ‘there’ll be good and bad, that is humanity, but if you connect humanity with technology, great things will happen….

“What could go wrong? Well, duh: all kinds of things have gone wrong since. We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have problems with abuse of personal data, we have people being profiled in a way that they can be manipulated by clever ads.”

Sir Tim, who developed the Web as a “side project” while working at the Cern research laboratory in Switzerland in the Eighties, has become increasingly vocal about what he sees as a perversion of his original vision.

He recently warned that tech giants such as Amazon and Google may have to be broken up in order to prevent them from amassing too much power, and has launched a project to decentralise data storage.

“I am disappointed with the current state of the Web. We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment and to a certain extent also I think the optimism has cracked,” he told Reuters.

The new contract has been developed by the World Wide Web Foundation, which Sir Tim founded, to mark the imminent moment at which half of the world’s population will be online. Other supporters include Richard Branson, Gordon Brown, the French government and the cybersecurity firm Cloudflare.

A key goal is to expand cheap internet into the third world, where users pay up to nine times more for a single gigabyte of data, relative to their incomes, than they do in North America or Europe.

Standing with Sir Tim on stage, Jacqueline Fuller, Google’s head of philanthropy, said: “We think the best way to deal with these challenges is to come together collectively and work together collaboratively… we’re very supportive of the new contract.”

But some of its principles may be difficult for tech companies to honour. For example, the Foundation criticised companies that harvest people’s data without their knowledge or consent, citing allegations that Google has been recording location data from Android users even when they have turned location history off.

In its section about online bullying and abuse, it mentions Facebook’s alleged role in spreading violence in Burma and India. It also asks companies to “ensure governments respect people’s rights online”, even though Google has faced an internal revolt over plans to build a censored search engine for Chinese users.

It also pointedly asks signatories to uphold net neutrality, the idea of treating all internet traffic equally, across the whole world. Both Google and Facebook have defended net neutrality in the USA, but Facebook’s “free basics” internet service for the third world has been banned in India because it only allows users to access approved products.

Nevertheless, Mr Berners-Lee said he was optimistic about the future of the internet. “The ad-based funding model doesn’t have to work in the same way. It doesn’t have to create clickbait. It doesn’t have to be that you only get a programming job in order to distract your users from what they want to do,” he said.

“These people are going to step back and they’re going to put aside all the myths that they’re currently taking as just being part of the way things work… people like you, who are actually building the web, taking things into their own hands.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.yahoo.com/news/sir-tim-berners-lee-launches-214716734.html

Turkey Gives Its Aggressive TV Censor Control Over the Web

Turkey’s parliament approved a new law on Wednesday that allows its radio and TV watchdog to vet Internet broadcasts, granting the government the ability to intervene against content by producers including Netflix Inc.

The regulation will require online video streaming companies and pay-TV services to apply for a license from the watchdog, known by its Turkish initials RTUK. Courts can block access for Turkish users if the necessary permits aren’t secured. RTUK has become notorious for aggressively handing out penalties or banning broadcasts that it judges to be immoral, inconsistent with Turkish family values, or that stray from the government line on politics.

The move is Turkey’s latest expansion into control over the media, with 80 million Turks increasingly limited in what they’re permitted to see on their computer screens and televisions. Courts and government agencies have repeatedly blocked access to Twitter and YouTube on complaints of content offensive to the nation’s leadership. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been blocked since last year. Twitter says that Turkey submits about half of all global requests made to remove tweets, by far the most of any country.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-22/turkey-gives-its-aggressive-tv-censor-control-over-the-web

Concerns raised over prosecutors’ power to seize phone, Internet records – The Boston Globe

When prosecutors first pushed for the power to seize telephone and Internet records themselves, bypassing the need for a judge to approve a warrant, they argued the power was necessary to help them quickly track down missing children and sexual predators.

But records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union show prosecutors have used that significant subpoena power hundreds of times a year in routine investigations related to larceny, check fraud, assault, and other common crimes.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/07/16/concerns-raised-over-prosecutors-power-seize-phone-internet-records/JKdVWqjFNUSMkaboOoAhZK/story.html