Yesterday was 28 the anniversary of the day that the Tim Berners-Lee submitted its proposal for world Wide Web. To mark the occasion, he published a letter describing how much something that scares him has spread as it distorts his original vision.
Ο Berners-Lee εξακολουθεί να κατευθύνει την Κοινοπραξία του Παγκοσμίου Ιστού (World Wide Web Consortium) that develops open standards for the web. This gives it a lot of influence, but now the internet is worldwide, and governments and multi-billion dollar corporations hold most of its power. Many of the problems he points out and will look at below are not new, but as he says "I have become increasingly concerned about three new trends" over the past 12 months.
1. Loss of control over personal data
Ο Berners-Lee recognizes that everyone who uses the internet has accepted tortuous terms of service in order to be able to "enjoy" private technologies. See Google, Facebook, etc. It also recognizes it theme με την κυβερνητική εποπτεία. Οι κυβερνήσεις συλλέγουν δεδομένα και παρακολουθούν τις επικοινωνίες χωρίς να ζητάνε κάποια permission. Berners-Lee fears that data collection by governments will have a chilling effect on how we feel using the internet and with our every online conversation.
2. Misinformation is very easy to spread on the internet
Fake News! Ναι, και όπως όλοι μας, ο Berners-Lee παρακολουθεί το φαινόμενο να μεγαλώνει στις online επικοινωνίας. Τα Social Networks have created a ripe landscape for the distribution of false information. Specifically, it states that "the use of data science and armies of bots" will trick the system.
3. Online political advertising needs transparency and understanding
He worries about politicians using specific groups who cannot understand what a real politician is message. "Targeted advertising allows a campaign to be completely different, potentially with conflicting things to different groups."
What can we do about the above? Tim is not entirely sure, but at least he took the position of describing some solutions.
1. “Data pods” could be a way to give more control over personal data. Berners-Lee has collaborated with MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute on a project called "Solid" (socially linked data or social media linked data). Although still in the early stages of development, the idea of storing personal data away from big companies sounds promising. In theory at least this will give users more control over their data by allowing companies like Facebook minimal access to their information, but also giving them the ability to revoke access to said information.
2. Συνδρομές και μικροπληρωμές σαν λύση για publications and other businesses that use advertising to make money. The idea ostensibly is to decouple internet traffic from the use of personal data for targeted marketing.
3. Fighting government oversight through the courts, if necessary.
4. Facebook and Google should "continue their efforts" to combat fake news.
5. Greater transparency in the ways algorithms are used to influence our lives. He says that values such as fairness, accountability and transparency in Machine Learning should be very specific.
6. Settings of online advertising policies to the same standards required by other media such as TV and radio.
Unfortunately, we have known all of the above for years now. What has changed in recent years is that the global community has realized the magnitude of government oversight. Continued hacking, which results in very large leaks, confirms that there can be no security on the internet. Companies, on the other hand, have built their entire business model in the exclusive possession and use of our personal data.
Berners-Lee seems to be quite romantic if he believes all of the above will be resolved soon.
The letter was posted to The Guardian