[NetBehaviour] Long Live the Web.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Nov 20 14:02:31 CET 2010

Long Live the Web.

The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our 
continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it 
needs defending...

By Tim Berners-Lee.

The world wide web went live, on my physical desktop in Geneva, 
Switzerland, in December 1990. It consisted of one Web site and one 
browser, which happened to be on the same computer. The simple setup 
demonstrated a profound concept: that any person could share information 
with anyone else, anywhere. In this spirit, the Web spread quickly from 
the grassroots up. Today, at its 20th anniversary, the Web is thoroughly 
integrated into our daily lives. We take it for granted, expecting it to 
“be there” at any instant, like electricity.

The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on 
egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, 
universities and companies have worked, both independently and together 
as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities 
based on those principles.

The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. 
Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its 
principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information 
posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet 
providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they 
have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are 
monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.


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