Tim Berners-Lee, who built the world's first website over 29 years ago, is calling for governments, businesses, and citizens to work together to "protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone." Channeling Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Berners-Lee said at Lisbon's Web Summit that he sees the rise of fake news, online harassment, and the use of your own personal information against you as the antithesis of what he intended with his creation. He is advocating that everyone sign his "Contract for the Web," which outlines a series of core principles promoting privacy protections and securing internet access for everyone.
"The web is at a crucial point. More than half the world's population remains offline, and the rate of new people getting connected is slowing," said Berners-Lee in a statement. "Those of us who are online are seeing our rights and freedoms threatened. We need a new Contract for the Web, with clear and tough responsibilities for those who have the power to make it better."
The contract will be published in full by May 2019, when it is expected that more than half of the world's population will be online. Currently, nearly 60 individuals and organizations, including Richard Branson, Google, Facebook, and the French government, have committed to the cause. You can read Berners-Lee's manifesto, published Monday by his World Wide Web Foundation, online.