Internet at its best open and free

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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The internet should be like a blank sheet of paper for people to write on, says the creator of the World Wide Web.

In Wellington for just one day, Sir Tim Berners-Lee told an audience of tech types last night that the web was at its best when as open as possible.

‘‘It should be like a sheet of paper – without attitude. It’s not concerned about what is written on it.’’

In 1989, the British computer scientist became the first person to create a link between a web page and a server via the internet, establishing the World Wide Web as it is known today.

The lecture, held at Te Papa, was part of a whirlwind tour that also included meetings with Prime Minister John Key, ministers and officials to discuss New Zealand’s approach to the digital environment.

While he would not divulge what discussions he had with the prime minister, he said all people should be able to use the internet without fear that companies or governments were spying, or data-mining.

‘‘We should be able to use the internet without worrying about whether there is someone looking over our shoulder.’’

Part of that included creating business models that allowed people to obtain music, movies and or even cat photos in any format they desired.

Despite being only a small nation, New Zealand still had the power to influence change, Sir Tim said.

By encouraging politicians to introduce legislation that encouraged greater sharing of data and more transparency, it could lead the way for creating a truly open internet.

‘‘In a country this size, you can achieve big things. You can be a leader. And after you do it, the Australians might do it too.’’

The beauty of the internet was that it was limitless, so people should be able to put anything on the web, he said.

‘‘There’s someone out there who next week is going to produce something you could never imagine. And that’s not about technology, that’s humanity.’’

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- The Dominion Post


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