Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee unveils plan to build a better web

World wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has released an ambitious plan for online governance designed to counteract the growing prevalence of misinformation, data surveillance and censorship.

The Contract for the Web, created by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, seeks commitments from governments and the industry to make and keep knowledge freely available.

“If we don’t act now – and act together – to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering” its potential for good, Berners-Lee said in a statement from his foundation on Monday.

Partners in the non-binding endeavour include Google and Facebook, whose data-collecting business models and sensation-rewarding algorithms have been blamed for exacerbating online toxicity.

The British engineer said the contract, developed in cooperation with dozens of experts and members of the public, is “a roadmap to build a better web”.

He called on governments to “strengthen laws and regulations” and companies “to ensure pursuit of profit is not at the expense of human rights and democracy”.

“Citizens must hold those in power accountable, demand their digital rights be respected and help foster healthy conversation online,” Berners-Lee added.

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