It was twenty years ago (December 1990) when the World Wide Web went live on the desktop of its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. But today, Berners-Lee says that the web is threatened.
- Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, By Tim Berners-Lee, Scientific American (November 22, 2010).
The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments — totalitarian and democratic alike — are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.
If you only read one article this Thanksgiving week, Tim’s is the one. Contrast his vision of the web as being essential to democracy with the view from Wired magazine from August:
- The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet, By Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, Wired, (August 17, 2010).
Two decades after its birth, the World Wide Web is in decline, as simpler, sleeker services — think apps — are less about the searching and more about the getting. Chris Anderson explains how this new paradigm reflects the inevitable course of capitalism. And Michael Wolff explains why the new breed of media titan is forsaking the Web for more promising (and profitable) pastures.
…The story of industrial revolutions, after all, is a story of battles over control. A technology is invented, it spreads, a thousand flowers bloom, and then someone finds a way to own it, locking out others. It happens every time.
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