Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web (WWW), is exploring the idea of a new decentralised version of the web, along with other internet scientists, report New York Times.
The Decentralized Web Summit was held from June 8-9 in San Francisco, and envisions a web which is not controlled by corporations or governments across the world.
“It’s (Web) 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,” Tim Berners-Lee told NYT.
Other than Tim Berners-Lee, the Decentralised Web Summitt saw the participation of Mozilla Project’s Mitchell Baker, Vint Cerf who is widely seen as one of the “Fathers of the Internet”, and is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. Cerf is co-creator of the TCP/IP protocols.
Also on the panels were Cory Doctorow, an author, journalist, and Special Advisor at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with Brewster Kahle, who is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, which is the largest digital library in the world.
As the NYT article notes, the idea behind the summit is to ensure digital memory is preserved, and the web isn’t controlled by governments or certain big cloud services.
According to the Decentralised Web Summit website, the current state of the web is not private or censorship-free.
The website reads, “It lacks a memory, a way to preserve our culture’s digital record through time. 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 Project, which is still in the early days envisions a truly open web, compared to the current one, which is subject to government control.
As the NYT article points out the world wide web is one of the means for accessing the internet. The latter is the network path and infrastructure connecting the world’s computers. Because the web is not full decentralised, censorship means that access to some of these pages on the Internet can be blocked. For example’s China’s Great Firewall blocks access to quite a few websites, including Google, Facebook and Twitter.
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