“All kinds of things have things have gone wrong. We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled and manipulated,” he said in an opening address.
Berners-Lee, 63, called on governments, companies and citizens to iron out a “complete contract” for the web that will make the internet “safe and accessible” for all by May 2019, the date by which 50 percent of the world will be online for the first time.
‘Going through a funk’
He has just launched Inrupt, a start-up which is building an open source platform called “Solid” which will decentralise the web and allow users to choose where their data is kept, along with who can see and access it.
Solid intends to allow users to bypass tech giants such as Google and Facebook. The two tech giants now have direct influence over nearly three quarters of all internet traffic thanks to the vast amounts of apps and services they own such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Employees of Google, Facebook and other tech giants have in recent months gone public with their regrets, calling the products they helped build harmful to society and overly addictive.