The Man Who Invented The Web Agrees [KitBits 17.4]

The web has turned twenty eight. Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web, has a few thoughts on the challenges that face it. Number one on his list is ‘We’ve lost control of our personal data’.

The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this – albeit often by accepting long and confusing terms and conditions documents – but fundamentally we do not mind some information being collected in exchange for free services. But, we’re missing a trick. As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it. What’s more, we often do not have any way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share – especially with third parties – the T&Cs are all or nothing.


Berners-Lee goes on to identify the rapid spread of misinformation and the lack of transparency around political advertising online as the other two main challenges for the web right now. These two concerns are of course heavily linked to the uses and misuses of our data. Regaining control of our personal data and what can be done with it would certainly decrease the ability of political advertisers to target individuals, and reduce the capacity of social networks to channel ‘news’ of dubious origin into our feeds based on their algorithms.

+ Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor, World Wide Web Foundation

[Image credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

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