It's not news to anyone who has read this website and others in the same niche for very long that the internet is a place of bias, manipulation, and prejudice. Website owners and outspoken people who go against the status quo are swiftly "punished" by the powers that be, effectively making it so that only one opinion can be heard.
But one man has a plan to take back the web.
And it isn't just some yahoo with a go-fund-me account. This guy has street cred like no one else.
He's Tim Berners-Lee, also known as "the Father of the World Wide Web." (Sorry, Al Gore.)
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an Internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as web technology spread.
He is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 that develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. He is a founding Director of the Web Science Trust (WST) launched in 2009 to promote research and education in Web Science, the multidisciplinary study of humanity connected by technology. Berners-Lee is also a Director of the World Wide Web Foundation, launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity. (source)
The internet we have is not the internet he intended when he created it.
Things turned out differently than Berners-Lee intended.
Back when he release the source code for free, his goal was to make the Web an open, democratic platform that anyone could use and speak freely.
Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation…
…For the man who set all this in motion, the mushroom cloud was unfolding before his very eyes. "I was devastated," Berners-Lee told me that morning in Washington, blocks from the White House. For a brief moment, as he recalled his reaction to the Web's recent abuses, Berners-Lee quieted; he was virtually sorrowful. "Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state." Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted. (source)
As anyone who has been paying attention, avid users of Berners-Lee's creation have bastardized it. They've profited from it, squelched free speech on it, stolen our private information on it, destroyed lives using it, and even carried out horrible psychological experiments on unwitting users.
But Berners-Lee isn't going to take it lying down.
Berners-Lee is going to take back the internet.
If anyone else said, "I'm going to create a new, free internet!" people would just roll their eyes. But when Tim Berners-Lee says it, Google and Facebook had better pay attention. If anyone can do it, he can.
He recently wrote a piece on Medium to let people know that he is hard at work creating an alternative.
I've always believed the web is for everyone. That's why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we've managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we've achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.
Today, I believe we've reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary.
This is why I have, over recent years, been working with a few people at MIT and elsewhere to develop Solid, an open-source project to restore the power and agency of individuals on the web.
Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value. As we've all discovered, this hasn't been in our best interests. Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way. (source)
You can go here to check out Berners-Lee's new invention.
How he is building a new internet
Right now, Inrupt and Solid are in their infancy. But on an internet determined to siphon our data and sell it to the highest bidder under the guise of "convenience," these are ideas which are past due. Berners-Lee's new invention could stop the creep of spying and manipulation (that seem to me to be leading us toward a social credit system like the one in China).