Saturady, March 11, 2017 marked “28 years since I submitted my original proposal for the worldwide web,” Tim Berners-Lee writes for The Guardian. “I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity.”
1. We’ve lost control of our personal data: Even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, such as sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.
MacDailyNews Take: Those who value their privacy use Apple products and steer clear of products from Google and Facebook.
2. It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web: Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s painfully easy to identify those who primarily get their “news” from Facebook.
3. Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding: Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups.
MacDailyNews Take: When it comes to free speech we always prefer to err on the side of free.
“We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology such as personal ‘data pods’ if needed and exploring alternative revenue models such as subscriptions and micropayments,” Berners-Lee writes. “We must fight against government overreach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is ‘true’ or not.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The best way to consume “news” is to cast a wide net.
As always, readers of “news” need to consider the sources and interpret what they are are being told accordingly. The more disparate sources you can find, the better. And we don’t mean different newspaper, network, website brands that are all owned by the same conglomerate. Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening. — MacDailyNews Take, June 17, 2015
Tim Berners-Lee: You should own your personal data, not Google, Facebook, Amazon, and advertisers – October 8, 2014
The Web at 25: Created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee on Steve Jobs’ NeXTcube – March 11, 2014
The Web, Apple, Steve Jobs’ NeXT and the evolution of search – August 4, 2011
World Wide Web creator (and Apple Mac user) Berners-Lee fears for Web’s future – November 3, 2006
Apple Mac OS X forerunner used to create World Wide Web – September 29, 2004
Inventor of World Wide Web uses Apple PowerBook, Mac OS X, and Safari browser – September 23, 2003