Ever since the birth of the Web in the early 90s, the free availability of knowledge has been a fundamental principle that has driven both its widespread adoption, and fuelled global innovation in every sector it touches.
As the web has grown over the last 30 years, large businesses, corporations and governments have looked at ways to bend the web to serve their purpose, at the expense of all of us. This ongoing threat poses big questions for the future of net neutrality, privacy and unrestricted access to publicly available information.
Enter #ForTheWeb, a campaign by Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the World Wide Web) & The World Wide Web Foundation, a plea, by the founders of the web, to keep open-ness, net neutrality, and privacy at the forefront of the web.
Why does this affect me?
The fight for the web has universal consequences for all of us.
50% of the world now has access to the internet, but 50% still does not. It is now considered a human right to have access to knowledge and learning, and is an unfair privilege that only half of us should be allowed that right.
If a large tech company pays to serve their website faster than a smaller competitor, who loses out? Without equal access to websites and applications, innovation is quashed, and start-ups suddenly have an even larger mountain to climb.
It is difficult to have an opinion in a country that filters the publicly available content to serve its agenda, or blocks its citizens communicating with the outside world.
If a country spys on its citizens to find wrong doers in their society, at what point do we consider it an invasion of privacy? Do we allow every personal aspect of our lives to be data sold to the highest bidder?
These are all problems we must consider as citizens of the web, and it's both our right and our responsibility to ensure fair play from all sides, to maintain an open and equal environment across the web.
What can I do about it?
Whether you are a citizen of the web, an employee of a company, or a civil servant, you can make a difference. Pledge to follow the simple principles at https://fortheweb.webfoundation.org to keep the web as a hub of innovation and knowledge for all.