Lifestream, Diigo: Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor – World Wide Web Foundation

Tim Berners-Lee calls for greater algorithmic transparency and personal data control.
from Diigo


I almost forgot to add some ‘meta-data’ to this one!

Who can believe the Internet is 28 years old? In this open letter, Tim Berner-Lee voices three concerns for the Internet, all connected to algorithms:

1)   We’ve lost control of our personal data

2)   It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

3)   Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

In terms of (1), Berners-Lee calls for data to be placed back into the hands of web users and for greater algorithm transparency, while encouraging us to fight against excessive surveillance laws.

In terms of personal data control, I wonder what the potential of Finland’s proposed MyData system is:


MyData Nordic Model

Transparency of algorithms also applies to (2) – but I also think that web users have to be more proactive in questioning what they find (are given) on the web, and there needs to be greater focus in schools on questioning claims and information rather than sources per se within the teaching of information and media literacy. Berners-Lee additionally calls for greater pressure to be placed on major aggregators such as Google and Facebook to be the gatekeepers, with a responsibility to stop the spread of fake news and warns against a singular, central arbiter of ‘truth’. Where does responsibility lie for misleading information, clickbait and so on?  While I agree that aggregators need to take responsibility, the problem seems to be connected to the underlying economic model: while ever there is money to be made from ‘clicks’ fraudulent & sensationalist ‘news’ will continue to be created. The quality of journalism will be weakened. I don’t have any long term solutions – but perhaps in the short term taking personal responsibility for diversifying the channels through which we search for and receive (and distribute!) information is a start, along with simple actions towards protecting some of our data (logging out, using browsers like Tor, not relying exclusively on Google, for example).

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