It is exactly 30 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted a paper to his colleagues at CERN, suggesting a way of sharing data across networks, under the title “Information Management: A Proposal”. Speaking at a TedX conference, Sir Tim explained that at first everyone was a bit skeptical regarding his vision of the future, but with some persuasion the world realized what was needed – a leap into the future.
It would take a year-and-a-half for the name “WorldWideWeb” to be proposed, and it would take many months before the public could actually access a public version of the web; even then, it didn’t look anything like the rudimentary graphical pages we associate with the early internet, let alone the huge and complex system you and your computer have navigated to get to this article.
Back in 2017, when the web turned 28, Sir Tim laid out what he saw as the three challenges that threatened it. All of them are at least as pressing then as they were two years ago, and some were eerily prescient about the ways the web would develop.
The first warning was that “we’ve lost control of our personal data”. Secondly he noted that it is “too easy for misinformation to spread on the web”.
Thirdly, he said that online political advertising “needs transparency and understanding”.