[LINK] Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become 'world’s largest surveillance network'

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Jun 10 16:25:59 AEST 2016

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become 'world’s largest surveillance
World Wide Web creator joins others in the fight for a more secure,
private and neutral internet
The Inquirer
8 June 2016

WORLD WIDE WEB CREATOR Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said that the internet
has fallen into the hands of large corporations and governments and
become the "world’s largest surveillance network".

Berners-Lee explained in an interview with The New York Times that his
invention has steadily come under the control of powerful interests.

"It controls what people see. It creates mechanisms for how people
interact. It's been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing
people's content, taking you to the wrong websites completely undermines
the spirit of helping people create," he said.

"The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social
network, one Twitter for microblogging."

Berners-Lee met a group of internet activists this week, including
Brewster Kahle, head of the Internet Archive, and fellow internet
pioneer Vint Cerf, in San Francisco at the Decentralized Web Summit to
discuss ways of "re-decentralising" the internet, giving more control to
individuals and ensuring more privacy and security.

It is a subject that he has returned to time and again. Berners-Lee
attended the launch of the documentary ForEveryone.net at the Sundance
Film Festival in January, and talked about the importance of defending
net neutrality in an age when technology allows unprecedented control of
the world's communications.

"The temptation to grab control of the internet by the government or by
a company is always going to be there. They will wait until we're
sleeping, because if you're a government or a company and you can
control something, you'll want it," he said.

"You want to control your citizens or exploit consumers. The temptation
is huge. Yes, we can have things enshrined in law, but even then it
won't necessarily stop people."

Berners-Lee continued with this theme in a recent interview with
GeekWire. "We're on the edge of finding that a company can get to the
point where actually it will control everything everybody sees," he said.

"It will decide which friends' posts and which news articles a person
sees, and we realise that we're talking about one big corporation
suddenly having complete control over somebody's view of the planet on
which they live. It's a constant battle and we are very close to it all
the time."

Berners-Lee is far from alone in looking at ways to wrest control of the
web from large corporations like Amazon and Google and from governments
that use it as a way to keep tabs on populations, as Snowden revealed,
or to censor what citizens can read.

There is a burgeoning industry of privacy-focused sites and
applications, such as social media site MeWe, of which Berners-Lee is a
board member, personal information management systems such as Meeco and
new transactional solutions based on blockchain technology and cryptography.

Others have taken the decentralisation idea still further, such as
Scottish firm MaidSafe which is working on an autonomous internet with
no servers and no central control.



Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
email: brd at iimetro.com.au
web:   www.drbrd.com
web:   www.problemsfirst.com
Blog:  www.problemsfirst.com/blog

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