Tim Berners invented the world wide web 30 years ago, and now he is working on another venture to help improve it. This new campaign called “contract for the web” came out in the world web summit, 2018 help in Lisbon, Portugal. With the recent Facebook fiasco, Berners felt the need for this campaign to promote principles for the government, citizens and companies to help improve the internet against data theft, hate speech, and political agenda formulations.
The Web was supposed to be a place for people to connect and not feel violated or threatened by any means at all. But as of now, it is quite evident from recent events how our rights and freedom are being bullied on the Web and not being able to do much about it is not the answer for it. It is also practically not in everyone’s hand to make and see the change we want. The people in power need to step up and as stated in the contract for the web needs to take some clear and robust responsibilities to make the internet the place it was intended to be.
The tech giants Facebook and Google along with 50 other tech companies have already signed the contract. As far as the government is concerned, the French government was the first one to step forward and sign the contract. There are still a lot of signatures to collect so that the agreement will come into effect following May in 2019.
On the contract, there is a list of principles which states that the government must ensure that every ordinary person out there has access to the internet, web-based tech companies must assure that their customer’s privacy is protected and the citizens must also be responsible enough to post only rich content on the web that does not harm anyone’s feelings.
Tim stated in the summit that,” A lot of companies are finding it so exciting to be able to switch from trying to exploit you, trying to make you buy something you didn’t want to buy, to actually switch back to the core business model of helping the user and generating value for the user” He added, “The idea of control over your data is not just about me being my silo, locking everything away. It’s having the joy of being able to share it with whoever.”
As evident from his statement, Tim realizes that personal data protection of the consumers is not a priority to the tech companies. They will give it out to anyone if it is profitable for the company. When a consumer trusts a company enough to take care of their data, the company should indeed be aware of their responsibilities.
Another plan on Tim’s hands right now is his work on a startup named Irrupt with members from MIT and several other places. They are working on an open source project called Solid that gives its user complete control over their data. How it works is that solid lets developers create apps that run on data wholly owned by the user. The user can decide where to store the data and with whom to share it with. The development of such apps have already begun, and if everything goes well, then Tim’s vision might become a reality soon for everyone.
Solid is in its initial stages is showing a lot of promise, but it won’t function until it is accepted on a global scale by everyone. Now whether or not people adopt Solid is a question whose answer will come over time. Tim needs to make everyone realize about their violation of rights and promote it further for positive growth.
Facebook’s data breach incident can play a role in promoting Solid as everyone is still furious about it. If they were not caught on this matter, then this would have gone on for many years to come. Now we know that our data is not safe, now we know that the tech companies prioritize profit over customer satisfaction and that is not the reason why the Web was formed.
The question remains though that will solid take off and be the difference we want to see in future?
Yes, Tim’s vision on the matter might be the solution to every similar issue. And with the contract of Web and Solid into action, people will feel safe on the Web soon. However, it is also essential for every citizen to realize the gravity of the situation and only post rich and positive content on the Web that does not violate anybody’s privacy.