The Web As We Know It Is Being Threatened

From Scientific American:

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.

If we, the Web’s users, allow these and other trends to proceed unchecked, the Web could be broken into fragmented islands. We could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want. The ill effects could extend to smartphones and pads, which are also portals to the extensive information that the Web provides.

– Tim Berners-Lee

The same web we credit with promoting freedom and taking down dictatorships is under attack itself. Will the web in 10 years still have the power to shift political power?

Tim Berners-Lee may know a thing or two about the web.

Copyright Office Compatibility Update

Macworld notes that the W3C objects to the Copyright Office Browser Compatibility plan (I mentioned this a few weeks ago). There are two particular quotes I wanted to share:

While stressing that the W3C is not criticizing Internet Explorer, the W3C officials said the office would be placing limitations on users of the Mac OS, Linux and Unix, who may have incompatible browsers. Cell phone and PDA users, and persons with disabilities also may be affected, Berners-Lee said.

So well said of Berners-Lee. What about Linux users? Where do they download the latest Internet Explorer? The Mac version is the same as the PC version in name only.

The W3C also stressed that the Web “was born and achieved widespread use only because of a commitment to open, vendor-neutral standards.”

I think that sums things up rather well. Not just about the problem with this proposal, but the problem facing the Internet in general. It applies to some patents, and to some monopolies.

You can find the complete W3C letter here.