Tim Berners-Lee is credited with creating the World Wide Web March 12, 1989, which means this week it hits its 30th birthday. Monday, the eve of the anniversary, Berners-Lee spoke to a group of reporters, according to AFP, discussing the flaws surrounding his invention, such as misinformation, scams and cybercrime, and the struggle for control over personal data.
“You should have complete control of your data. It’s not oil. It’s not a commodity,” Berners-Lee told reporters at CERN, according to AFP.
Berners-Lee predicted a grim reality if the public becomes disengaged in the battle for privacy protection.
“There is a possible future you can imagine (in which) your browser keeps track of everything that you buy,” Berners-Lee warns. He continues by saying in this situation, browsers will hold more information than Amazon.
In response to the growing personal data concern, where information could be bought or sold without consent from the owner, Berners-Lee spearheaded the Solid project.
“Solid empowers users and organizations to separate their data from the applications that use it. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time. It opens brand new avenues for creativity, problem-solving, and commerce,” according to project’s website. Users will be able to decide, according to AFP, key factors like where and how they would share their own data.
However, during Berners-Lee’s Monday talk with reporters, he expressed the most sensitive of data, like genetic information, would need help from legislation for robust protection.
“Sometimes it has to be legislation which says personal data, you know, genetic data, should never be used,” Berners-Lee says.
Amongst all that is wrong with the age of connectivity, the web’s creator sheds a ray of hope for the internet’s future, “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. If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”