Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee warns of the three big dangers facing the internet

By midian182 · 34 replies
Mar 13, 2017
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  1. It’s been 28 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his original proposal for the world wide web. To mark the occasion, the Web Foundation founder has written a blog post highlighting what he believes are the three challenges facing the internet today.

    While Berners-Lee says the modern web mostly lives up to his vision of “an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries,” he is worried about three new trends. The first one being the loss of personal data.

    “As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realize if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it,” he said.

    “What’s more, we often do not have any way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share – especially with third parties – the terms and conditions are all or nothing.”

    Berners-Lee talks about the threat to our privacy through these companies collaborating with, or being coerced by, government agencies, and the detrimental effect this has on both free speech and the ability to explore sensitive topics on the web.

    Secondly, and something that’s become a huge issue over the past 12 months or so, is the problem of fake news appearing online. Some say it influenced last year’s US election, while Facebook and other social media sites have introduced a number of new features to help fight its spread. But Berners-Lee says the networks have little incentive to stop the stories as they make money from each person who clicks on them.

    “They choose what to show us based on algorithms which learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or ‘fake news’, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases can spread like wildfire.”

    Berners-Lee’s final concern is over the lack of transparency and understanding when it comes to online political advertising. “Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?”

    Berners-Lee’s Web Foundation has laid out a five-year plan that attempts to fix these issues.

    We must fight against government over-reach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is 'true' or not. We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed.

    In summing up, he writes: It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2017
  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Secondly, and something that’s become a huge issue over the past 12 months or so, is the problem of fake news appearing online. Some say it influenced last year’s US election, while Facebook and other social media sites have introduced a number of new features to help fight its spread. But Berners-Lee says the networks have little incentive to stop the stories as they make money from each person who clicks on them.

    The great irony of this fake news hysteria is that it was fake news organizations (CNN et. al.) that created the fake news narrative to draw people away from their plummeting credibility after their abysmal 2016 election coverage and fakery.

    They actually did a study on fake news. Much to the surprise of no one, it wasn't even a factor:


    Fake news is only a problem for it's authors, the main stream press.
    Reehahs and JaredTheDragon like this.
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  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,976

    I think he missed an equally important one and that is commercialization of the internet. In the original application, it was a simple medium to be used between universities for file sharing and messages. The advent of "hyper-card" created a faster means of displaying graphical information and it grew by leaps and bounds. The early charters called for no commercial applications, but that got quickly swept aside. Now days there is so much advertising and commercial content, just of which is loaded with bots and other information gathering that simply logging on subjects you to all sorts of potential harm.

    With the cost of running and maintaining the internet, it is unimaginable that it could exist in it's present day form without some sort of advertising backed backbone. So, a very important feature would be to develop a means and method of allowing commercial ads without breaking privacy expectations or illegal collection of anything without the users written & signed approval. Countries need to make a serious attempt to update and enforce laws concerning privacy, exploitation, and the other evils that unfortunately exist in such a free and open vehicle.
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. thelatestmodel

    thelatestmodel TS Booster Posts: 117   +44

    I can't believe people are still buying this nonsense. CNN is not fake news. You and Donald Trump just wish they were.
  6. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Addict Posts: 182   +114

    Can't tell if sarcasm or not. If you think CNN is real news then your kool aid must be delicious.
    davislane1 and Yynxs like this.
  7. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    Those who believe that mainstream media lives by producing fake news and that Trump is a fountainhead of God-like truth will not be convinced otherwise.
    Scorpionking20 likes this.
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    I bet your kool aid is laced with ergot poisoning.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    From the article:
  10. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Addict Posts: 182   +114

    Nah, mostly just fluoride with a little water. I get my ergot from a trusted source. Ever tried it? Really eye opening stuff.
  11. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 202   +70

    Concerning this video that CNN Aired.

    In the unedited version, police officers can be heard telling Scott to "drop the gun" a minimum of 11 times. In the edited version, every single call by the officers to "drop the gun" is omitted.

    Blue Lives Matter released a statement that reads in part:

    "The editing was clearly intended to give viewers the impression that Scott wasn't armed. By intentionally excluding information to promote the false narrative that the officer-involved shooting of Keith Scott was unjustified, CNN directly contributed towards inciting violence and destruction in the Charlotte riots. Innocent citizens were hurt during the Charlotte riots, but editing like this also incites violence against police officers long after the riots are over."

    This isn't the first time CNN has been accused of selective editing as it relates to race issues.

    In August, following the shooting death of Sylville Smith in Milwaukee, CNN played a clip of Smith's sister "calling for peace":

    In reality, CNN left out a critical part of Smith's words:
    in another post about CNN.


    CAUGHT: CNN Forced to Apologize For Doctoring Violent Milwaukee Video
    Courtney Kirchoff Wednesday August 17 2016

    Oh CNN. I really do have a love/hate relationship with that entire organization of unapologetic leftist hacks. CNN shamelessly pushes narratives in the digital equivalent of broad daylight, while claiming to be a serious news organization. Along comes the internet and bursts their delusional bubble.

    Here’s what happened. Sister of slain Syville Smith from Milwaukee voiced her honest thoughts. Ten points for sincerity.

    Sylville Smith's sister Sherelle encourages "protestors" to burn the suburbs @Cernovich @CassandraRules @rooshv pic.twitter.com/prxR2prcUV

    — DeeconX (@DeeconX) August 15, 2016

    You saw and heard that correctly. Sherelle encourages protesters to stop burning “their own sh!t,” and to refocus the pyrotechnics on the ‘burbs.

    CNN found this displeasing. Well one does. The sister is, after all, encouraging violence. Violence in the suburbs, an area which is stereotypically white. But rather than air it as is, CNN got a little creative, deciding to cut away from the part where the sister calls for MOAR FIRE.

    The above took about 30 secs to search for. Guns. Police. LGBTQ. War. Terrorists. Hamas. Israel. The list goes on forever about CNN's bias and deliberate obfuscation and 'slanting' and sometimes outright lies. There are problems out there, but CNN is certainly not describing them as they are.

    You need to get a grip on the facts. If you're using CNN for your legitimate news, instead of "for entertainment only", (and my 90 year old mother-in-law does), then you have lost touch with any present day reality.
    davislane1 likes this.

    CK JAGUAR TS Rookie

    I agree that "fake" (slanted) news is a big problem, but that's not new. News has been slanted for decades. But it has become more slick, majufactured and and acceptable because it sounds familiar and valid to many citizens. Education should reduce or eliminate the problem of propagand or agenda news. Unfortunately education with its political correctness, censorship and group think is the major cause. This documentary explains why so most academics, students, teachers and news "reporters" happily follow and spread the common line. Liberals and news organizations are not all naturally intolerant. But today they are discovering that "group think" has both consequences and a backlash. The liberal mindset is injected as a mandatory thought process by our educators. If you already assume that to be impossible or even ridiculous you have already been injected. Watch Indoctrinate U here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHyvRHrYYBA
  13. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,092

    the article you linked is BS and you know it.
    they say that half of the people believed the fake news stories but then go on saying that because people didn't remember which fake news articles they read during the elections the effects weren't "big".
    well DUH! these type of things are not meant to be something that affect people in the long run. they just need to swing a vote during that short period of time.

    FYI I really like how it makes Trump supporters look stupid because of how much easier it was to fool them with fake news.

    here are some nice quotes:
    - "Though they do not estimate the impact of fake news directly, their findings suggest that for it to have been pivotal, each fake article would have had to have an impressively large effect on voters."

    - "In the three months before the election, Americans shared pro-Trump fake news stories 30m times on Facebook—almost four times more than false news favouring his opponent, Hillary Clinton. It seems that seeing was believing. Half of the people surveyed who viewed a fabricated headline believed it, compared to 10% of those who had not."

    - "Messrs Allcott and Gentzkow calculated that in order for fake news to have swung the election, the articles would need to be 36 times as persuasive as a televised campaign ad."

    When some of the most viral ads on facebook only get hundreds of thousands or a few million shares, I can safely assume that tens of millions of fake news shares did indeed affect a lot of people.
  14. Nick_Knac

    Nick_Knac TS Rookie

    I don't really understand what the problem with 'fake news' is. It's nothing new. There has always been fake news around in the form of propaganda or disinformation. One always knows when a war is coming up because the "enemy" is reported of doing unspeakable (but printable) things to women and babies.
    Is the younger generation so stupid, or gullible, or uneducated that they can't sort out what is likely nonsense and what isn't?
    I was brought up with the number one rule that you don't believe everything you read in the newspapers. It was an almost a daily admonition. So what has happened? The younger generation are not likely to be stupider, if anything they are likely to be cleverer than the older generation. Perhaps there is just too much information for humans to assimilate and sift through the plausible and implausible. Perhaps there is too much internet and not enough life.
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    If CNN isn't fake news, why do they publish so much fiction?

    From the article:

    When you lose by landslide margins on the score board (EC), what may or may not have contributed to a 1pt score difference isn't relevant. What lost the election for the Fake Party was Hillary Clinton's moronic strategy of talking about herself while Trump ran away with the issues:


    Clinton didn't just lose. She choked like a dog on her own narrative.

    The liberal progressive platform, like the "American conservatism" it crushed some years ago, is dead, due in large part to its dependency on fiction and lies. CNN and the rest of the mainstream press are the authors of that fiction. You should be angry with them for killing you.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    They aren't. Most people brought up through the public education system in this country have no ability to discern fact from fiction if it comes from an official source. It's what they're trained to do. It's why you'll see people demand "sources" any time you contradict them in a discussion these days, and why they revert to "your source doesn't count!" when you acquiesce. They literally can't think for themselves.

    This is why fake news is so terrifying to them. It's a projection. They believe that dissent subscribes to whatever is thrown into the water in the same way they follow their "authorities" without question or pause. An example from the thread:

    Dissent = belief in the imaginary.
    Yynxs likes this.
  17. merikafyeah

    merikafyeah TS Enthusiast Posts: 84   +36

    "Fake news" can go by many names, but it's practically as old as civilization. Marie Antoinette was destroyed by "fake news" such that even today most think of her as some royal snob who knew nothing of the plight of the poor, even falsely attributing to her the phrase "Let them eat cake", where there is no evidence to suggest she ever said such a thing.

    Over 200 years separates the French Revolution from the present day, and yet, are things completely different? Some say no. The fact is the wealth gap between the richest and the poorest is bigger than it has ever been in human history. In the U.S. alone the top 10% hold 76% of the total wealth and the gap is actually still accelerating. Fast approaching is the day when the top 1% holds more wealth than the remaining 99% combined. The situation is ripe for another revolution, but unlike the past a revolution built on blood will not succeed, and some will argue that they have never truly succeeded. Subtle breakthroughs that overturn the entire system virtually overnight such as bitcoin, are the key to the future. Only when control of wealth is decentralized will the common man truly be free.
  18. bobc4012

    bobc4012 TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +36

    CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the mainstream media are an arm of the left-wing of the Democrat party. Fox News is biased toward the Republican party. Its what CNN, et al fail to tell the viewers that make it "fake news". Keep in mind, during the election cycle, they heartily supported Hillary, overlooked her criminal activities (one of which was having a private server to conduct classified (including top secret) government biusiness on her unsecured server).and continuously bashed Trump. While Fox News exposed Hillary's activities, it was tepid in its support for Trump. If Hillary had been a right-wing Republican, the left-wing media would have been screaming she be imprisoned.
    It is unfortunate that one can no longer get complete and honest news from the mainstream media anymore.
    Yynxs and davislane1 like this.
  19. bobc4012

    bobc4012 TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +36

    What happened is the complete failure of the public education system in the US. Subjects like Civics, American and World History are no longer taught in many public schools. Emphasis on "political correctness", ensure every kid is coddled to make them feel good instead of letting them fail at times (as what happens to us in real life), teaching them "group think" instead of learning logic and how to dissect information being presented to them, etc. It gets worse the higher up the education chain. Most of the professors at the university level are so far left and feed their students BS and propaganda, its pathetic. I was fortunate when I went to college, the professors kept politics out of non-political classes - even the political classes were normally presented objectively. This left-wing bias in the education system did not happen overnight, but through a gradual process that kept it from being noticed.
    Yynxs likes this.
  20. bobc4012

    bobc4012 TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +36

    Berners-Lee states "We must fight against government over-reach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is 'true' or not."
    Just what we need - censorship by a biased Google and Facebook. Both have been accused by many notable people of having their political viewpoints being censored by these two sites and some others. Scott Adams (Dilbert comic) has had an on-going battle with them censoring his postings and he is not the only one.
    Yynxs likes this.
  21. skribat

    skribat TS Rookie

    "We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed."

    It won't happen will it .. principles go out of the window when money comes in at the door.
    Uncle Al likes this.
  22. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Is one of the dangers having pictures uploaded to the internet of you having a really bad hair day?
  23. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 574   +316

    It's hard to trust any news agency these days. Only news that does not seem to be fake tend to be of the type with no political agenda. Otherwise you also fall in a trap of being stuck in an echo chamber. For example: South Korea will tell you one thing while North Korea another, you might as well ask the insects roaming the DMZ for an update.
  24. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,092

    it clearly shows in that article that young people didn't believe in the fake news crap as much as older ones.
  25. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Which has nothing to do with my comment. Being more adept at filtering online information != being more clever or intelligent. We grew up with the tech, they didn't.

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