Sir Tim Berners-Lee, one of the architects of the World Wide Web, has penned an op-ed for The Guardian lamenting what the internet has become of late. Though it’s largely what he envisioned, there are a few nagging problems he believes imperil the tenets upon which the web was built. Here’s what he says is most pressing:
• We don’t control our own data: Berners-Lee writes that the current digital business model of providing free services in exchange for personal data has serious pitfalls. For one, people’s privacy can be invaded. Not only that, but regimes and organizations can collect information about users and use it against them.
• Rampant misinformation is spreading: Everyone decries “fake news,” so much so that the term is losing its meaning. For Berners-Lee, the problem is that as companies collect our data, they create algorithms to feed us content that they think we’ll like. This means misinformation “can spread like wildfire.”
• Political advertising has gone too far: Berners-Lee explains that the internet is inundated with politically bent advertising, and it’s being used to manipulate the masses: “Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups.”
In short, data collection and its monetization are hindering the open web. You can read the full post here.
Photo: Flickr user Open Data Institute Knowledge for Everyone