Formally, Sir Tim Berners-Lee does not have a favorite web site. Once you’re the creator of the World Vast Net, he says, “You’ll be able to’t.”

“‘What’s your favorite web site?’ was the primary query everyone requested,” he says. “Sorry, I haven’t got one.”

However, even when he is too honourable to point out even a touch of favouritism, Sir Tim does often have preferences.

One app he particularly preferred was an exercise tracker known as Strikes, which he used to see what he’d been doing in his journeys spherical from his house in Massachusetts, the place he’s a professor of laptop science.

Then, in 2014, Strikes was purchased by Fb – which means Sir Tim’s information now doubtlessly belonged to the world’s largest social community.

After which, earlier this yr, Fb shut down Strikes. There was no enchantment. Fb merely introduced that it was “shifting on”.

For Sir Tim, it was a private style of a much bigger drawback. The online he constructed was damaged – and the large corporations that dominated it have been the flaw.

The awakening for him, as for therefore many individuals, got here in 2016, with the dual shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

“What occurred there was a tipping level,” he says.

He knew that social media might be used to control folks, however for the primary time he noticed it working at huge scale.

“I believed that my accountability as an online consumer was to go and discover the stuff which I appreciated, which I trusted, however now I believe that everybody concerned within the internet realises the issue is that different individuals are studying stuff which is full rubbish and so they’re believing it, and so they vote.”

He mentions voting. Does that, I ask, imply democracy itself is underneath menace?

“Science tells us what to consider are info,” he says. “And democracy depends on info. So democracy depends on science.”

English scientist Tim Berners-Lee from the Web Foundation addresses the opening ceremony of the 2018 edition of the annual Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon on November 5, 2018. (Photo by FRANCISCO LEONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)"/>


Sir Tim sees the core of the issue as the large centralisation of his initially decentralised internet

Sir Tim sees the core of the issue as the large centralisation of his initially decentralised internet.

“As a substitute of going from web site to web site, everybody’s on one web site, so the construction of individuals making nice hyperlinks to different blogs which we had after 10 years of the online is extra damaged.

“Folks do not comply with hyperlinks from one web site to a different, they sit on one web site, and what they see is decided by the individuals who code that social community.”

Sir Tim is just too well mannered to call the community, however there cannot be various candidates. Between them, 4 or 5 large companies dominate every little thing we do on-line.

It is with these websites – and governments – in thoughts that, final week, Sir Tim launched a constitution for the online: a Magna Carta of digital rights.

Fb and Google have already signed up, as has the federal government of France; though whether or not they abide by its phrases stays to be seen.

He is additionally launched a brand new venture: Stable. It is successfully a brand new internet; solely this time he will get it proper.

The important thing change is to do with information. On Sir Tim’s authentic internet, customers’ information was – and is – saved by the proprietor of the web site or the app.

On Stable, the selection of the place you place your information is separate out of your selection of service.

Your information – out of your selfies to the cash you ship – is hived off right into a separate space, known as a pod, which could be linked to, identical to the pages on an internet site. That provides folks real management over the place and the way their information is deployed.

If it comes off, it could be a seismic change within the digital panorama.

“Some individuals are calling it Net 3.0,” Sir Tim says.

And whereas earlier makes an attempt at what’s often called re-decentralisation have foundered on public disinterest, this time Sir Tim feels the time is ripe.

“A giant backlash [is coming] towards the mistreatment of private information, a realisation that folks ought to management their information,” he says.

“That is what I see, a revolution. Beginning proper now.”

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