Inventor of the internet wants it to be a more decentralised, secure, and less censored place

Computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Photo / Getty Images
Computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Photo / Getty Images

Technology leaders are meeting in San Francisco this week to discuss making the internet a more decentralised, secure, and less censored place, with an emphasis on privacy and preserving history.

The event, called the Decentralized Web Summit, is focused on "locking the web open."

The idea is that the Web could be a place where governments don't spy or censor information, where culture is preserved, and information is stored in a decentralised way.

"The Decentralized Web aims to make the Web open, secure and free of censorship by distributing data, processing, and hosting across millions of computers around the world, with no centralised control," the summit's website declares.

Among the speakers at the summit is Tim Berners-Lee, the 1989 creator of the World Wide Web. He spoke about its current shortcomings with The New York Times.

"It controls what people see, creates mechanisms for how people interact," Berners-Lee said. "It's been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people's content, taking you to the wrong websites - that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create."

Another focus is on new digital payment systems - a move away from entering credit card information and towards new tech that gives people more control and takes the focus away from advertising.

"Ad revenue is the only model for too many people on the web now," Berners-Lee told the Times. "People assume today's consumer has to make a deal with a marketing machine to get stuff for 'free,' even if they're horrified by what happens with their data. Imagine a world where paying for things was easy on both sides."

He added that he thought the Web was "already decentralised," it just needed more options than "one search engine," for example.


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