On this day in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The idea for an Internet-based hypermedia initiative struck him when he wanted an easier way to share information with his colleagues at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). His idea of using URLs, HTTP and HTML formed the basis of everything we do on the Internet.
Mr. Berners-Lee is still active in the continued development of the Web. He is currently the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium and the World Wide Web Foundation where he finds ways to lead the Web to its full potential. He is also a Professor of Engineering at MITwhere he runs the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. In his spare time he is also a Professor of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. Needless to say, he is a very smart man.
It’s no surprise that someone so smart has something to say about how we use Web today. 25 years later, as the government seeks more access to our online behavior, Internet-users want more freedom – and the creator of the Web feels the same way.
“Now, 25 years on, Web users are realizing they need human rights on the Web … We need independence of the Web for democracy, we need independence of the Web to be able to support the press, we need independence of the Web in general. It’s becoming very important to sort out all that.” –Tim Berners-Lee
In recent years, evidence of mass government surveillance has been exposed by people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. These revelations have prompted outrage by citizens who felt their rights were being compromised. They also angered the government agencies who didn’t want to get caught. The end result has been an endless cycle of Internet users being more cautious while the government seeks to squeeze more information out of us. Something needs to change.
At 58, Mr. Berners-Lee has no plans on retiring soon. He hopes we mark today’s 25th anniversary by creating an Internet User’s Bill of Rights. His Web We Want initiative aims to combat companies and governments that threaten our fundamental freedoms on the Web. He feels this is the perfect opportunity to draft an Internet User’s Bill of Rights because the United Nations is requesting an investigation into global online surveillance. It’s obvious more people are realizing there is a threat to our Internet freedom.
It’s hard to imagine a world without the Web. As we become more dependent on this technology it’s important that we have certain freedoms that shouldn’t be compromised. The Internet has given humanity a lot of power and it’s up to us to determine what we’ll use it for.