World Wide Web Inventor Wins Computing’s “Nobel Prize”

The world has changed rapidly since Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991, but it hasn’t really changed in the direction he intended. 

His Turing award is well deserved, especially when you consider that an estimated 3.7 billion of the 7.5 billion people alive on earth are using the Internet (which includes the Web, Email and other things like FTP) as of March 2017. According to the Turing Award web site, the prize is now at $1,000,000, which is four times its previous level. Funding is provided by Google Inc. 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, envisioning a global information space where documents and other web resources could be identified with uniform names, where documents and resources could be retrieved in a standard way, and where documents could be connected by hypertext links. To this end, Sir Tim introduced a universal resource naming scheme based on URIs and URLs; the HTTP protocol for sending and receiving information across the Internet in a scalable and decentralized way; and the HTML markup language, which provided a standard way for documents to be created and displayed in a device-independent manner and linked to other documents. In addition, Sir Tim created the first web browser and web serving software, and he did so in an open-source fashion that catalyzed the Web’s further development.

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Hopefully it will interest some people that Sir Tim did not intend the Web to be the way it is today, influenced heavily by powerful corporations. It was supposed to be a free peer-to-peer network, not a super government spy tool. 

When Berners-Lee created the web, it was a decentralized platform. Anyone could publish a website and link to any other site. But as the web has grown from an obscure research-sharing tool for the scientific community into a global medium for commerce, communication, journalism, and entertainment, the power dynamics have shifted. Today, huge companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Netflix dominate the web. These corporate giants enjoy an enormous amount of control not only over what people see and do online but over users’ private data. These days, Berners-Lee is working to reverse that trend as the co-lead of the Decentralized Information Group at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL).

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It makes sense that, with caveats, he puts Edward Snowden in the hero category. 

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

As the scandal widens, BBC News looks at the leaks that brought US spying activities to light. …

The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.

The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an “ongoing daily basis”.

That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.

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Check out Solid, which is Sir Tim’s attempt to give people back ownership of their data.

Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, has been honored with the 2016 Turing Award.  … “I’m humbled to receive the namesake award of a computing pioneer who showed that what a programmer could do with a computer is limited only by the programmer themselves,” Berners-Lee told MIT, where he is a senior researcher and holder of the founders chair at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

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