Tim Berners-Lee, who’s often credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989, sees a modern Frankenstein’s Monster in how his creation is being used today.
That’s the gist of Berners-Lee’s comments at Monday’s Web Summit tech conference, where CNBC reported that he laid out ground rules for a new “Contract for the Web“and called for a return to net neutrality.
The new contract, published by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, calls for safeguards that protect users’ data from being sold, stolen, or misused. Looking back at the history of the web, Berners-Lee argued that without explicit protections against them, hate speech, misinformation, and abuse have been allowed to proliferate online.
“If you’d asked me 10 years ago, I would have said humanity is going to do a good job with this,” Berners-Lee told CNBC. “If we connect all these people together, they are such wonderful people they will get along. I was wrong.”
Apparently Facebook and Google, two of the largest perpetrators of privacy violations and unscrupulous online activity, have already signed onto the contract. It raises the question of how useful such an agreement could possibly be, given the fact that these tech giants are unlikely to sign anything that would hurt their bottom line.
All the same, anything that helps restore net neutrality is a good thing, especially if Berners-Lee is willing to throw his weight around.
More on net neutrality: Net Neutrality Is Officially Gone. Here’s How This Will Affect You.