Web Inventor Warns of Dangers to Web

You folks remember Tim Berners-Lee?

Hey, the guy is the inventor of the World Wide Web, the greatest thing of the 20th century and it’s fair to presume he knows a thing or two about the Web.

In a recent article in Scientific American, Sir Tim Berners-Lee warns of the threats to the Web from different corners and how like Democracy the Web needs defending to prevent it from being ‘broken into fragmented islands.’

Among the threats Berners-Lee identifies are cable television, social networking sites, snooping and attempts to strike at the idea of net neutrality:

The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.

On social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster, Berners-Lee writes:

Connections among data exist only within a site. So the more you enter, the more you become locked in. Your social-networking site becomes a central platform—a closed silo of content, and one that does not give you full control over your information in it. The more this kind of architecture gains widespread use, the more the Web becomes fragmented, and the less we enjoy a single, universal information space.

If you guys are interested in reading Berners-Lee’s full article, here’s the link to the Scientific American piece.

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