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30 Years of the World Wide Web; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor, pushes contract for the web

… Seeks affordable connectivity, bridge for gender digital divide, data protection

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
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Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web (www) who is in Lagos Nigeria as part of a 30-hour tour to various cities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the web, has urged governments, companies and citizens to uphold the contract for the web which aims to ensure the inclusion of everyone on the web and safety of personal data.

Berners Lee who spoke to BusinessDay, Wednesday, after the celebratory event in Ikoyi Lagos said “the contract of the web is about companies, government and individuals all working together to make sure that the web is better, and it will require the attention and commitment of all of them. There is no simple solution because the government, companies and individuals all have their roles to play to achieve data security and web safety.”

According to the principles of the contract for the web, governments will ensure that everyone can connect to the internet by collaborating with providers to drive down data costs so that anyone, no matter who they are or where the live, can participate actively online and not be denied access to full internet access. The contract also seeks to ensure that governments respect people’s fundamental right to privacy so that anyone can use the internet freely and without fear.

The contract for the web expects companies to play their role by also making internet affordable, respecting consumers’ privacy and personal data and to develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst. While citizens should be creators and collaborators on the web, so that the web has rich and relevant content for everyone and builds strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity, as well as fight for the web to remain a global public resource, open for all.

Rosemary Leith, one of the founding directors of the World Wide Web Foundation a non profit founded with Tim Berners-Lee, said; “The web, over the past 30 years has really grown across the globe, and we feel that the future of the web is in Nigeria, Dakar, Bangkok and as the web becomes even more and more international.

“We started the web foundation when 20 percent of people were on the web, and another two billion people have come on the web since we started this web foundation ten years ago, and we hope that over the next 10 years, we are going to see more people on the web.”

According to Rosemary, the foundation seeks to bridge the gender digital divide by supporting women and girls on the web.

“As well as web access, we feel very strongly that women are underepresented on the web and the economic impact to families, companies from that diversity is very clear to see. In fact, the numbers of computer scientists are decreasing, so we have to work to get women on the web across the world. We are very excited to meet with young women here in Nigeria and do whatever we can to include them,” she said.

Adrian Lovette, president and CEO of the World Wide Web foundation reiterated the need for affordable web access and gender balance on the web.

“The foundation fights for affordable and meaningful access to the web. We have a target we’ve established which has now been adopted by the united nations and a number of countries that 1GB data should cost no more than two pecent of the average monthly income.

“We work to ensure that women and girls can thrive on the web because we know that women are less likely to be expressing strong opinions in social media or applying for a job online so we are increasingly working to bridge gender digital divide. With various controversies in the last few years, our data is not safe and is at risk if being misused by others and that is also something we are working on,” Adrian Lovette said.

It is estimated that 55.1 percent of the world’s population is connected to the internet. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates the number at about 3.2 billion people globally.

According to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria has about 61.7 million mobile internet subscribers and broadband penetration rate currently stands at 32.34 percent and seems to be steadily increasing as a result of reduced data and smartphone costs.

The internet and the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners – Lee in 1989, is responsible for gradually turning the world we live in today into a global village. It has therefore become even more necessary to get the whole world connected.

 

Jumoke Akiyode-Lawanson

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