Inventor of the web says the web needs to be fixed, and fast

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the English scientist credited with the invention of the World Wide Web, isn't too happy about where said web is going. In an open letter published Monday — a day before the WWW's 30th anniversary — Berners-Lee outlines the issues that plague the internet today, and what he thinks needs to be done to fix them. SEE ALSO: The royal family combats internet trolls with new rules of conduct "While the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit," he wrote. In the letter, Berners-Lee identifies three main "sources of dysfunction" that plague today's web (he appears to use the words "web" and "internet" as synonyms, which isn't quite true, but we'll let it slide). One is malicious intent, which includes state-sponsored hacking, harassment and just plain old ..

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the English scientist credited with the invention of the World Wide Web, isn't too happy about where said web is going.

In an open letter published Monday — a day before the WWW's 30th anniversary — Berners-Lee outlines the issues that plague the internet today, and what he thinks needs to be done to fix them.

SEE ALSO: The royal family combats internet trolls with new rules of conduct

"While the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit," he wrote.

In the letter, Berners-Lee identifies three main "sources of dysfunction" that plague today's web (he appears to use the words "web" and "internet" as synonyms, which isn't quite true, but we'll let it slide). One is malicious intent, which includes state-sponsored hacking, harassment and just plain old crime. The other is bad system design which rewards bad behaviour, including "ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation." Finally, there are the unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, which includes the "outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse."

Berners-Lee has already outlined the solution to these problems a year ago, when he launched his Contract for the Web initiative. The Contract, which has been backed by companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, outlines a set of principles to which governments, companies and citizens should commit to, including free, affordable access to the internet and respect for consumers' privacy and personal data.

One needs to just look at the headlines concerning user privacy and net neutrality in the last year or so to see that these are still very much burning issues. But Berners-Lee believes it's not too late for the web, though we need to act fast.

"The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time. Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity," he wrote.

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