World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said that the internet has fallen into the hands of large corporations and governments and become the “world’s largest surveillance network”.
Berners-Lee explained in an interview with The New York Times that his invention has steadily come under the control of powerful interests.
“It controls what people see. It creates mechanisms for how people interact. It’s been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people’s content, taking you to the wrong websites completely undermines the spirit of helping people create,” he said.
“The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging.”
Berners-Lee met a group of internet activists this week, including Brewster Kahle, head of the Internet Archive, and fellow internet pioneer Vint Cerf, in San Francisco at the Decentralized Web Summit to discuss ways of “re-decentralising” the internet, giving more control to individuals and ensuring more privacy and security.
It is a subject that he has returned to time and again. Berners-Lee attended the launch of the documentary ForEveryone.net at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and talked about the importance of defending net neutrality in an age when technology allows unprecedented control of the world’s communications.