Tim Berners-Lee warns Facebook against web takeover
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, today launched a new push to stop internet giants treating certain kinds of traffic differently from others.
The idea, dubbed net neutrality, means companies would not be able to give priority, for instance, to video traffic from one provider over another, and means that anything, from emails to web sites, would be treated equally by internet service providers.
Sir Tim explicitly warned Facebook, which has been focusing on providing web access to the developing world, “don’t you dare make a phone that can only go to facebook.com.”
Working with mobile companies, Facebook last year introduced internet.org to promote new business models that would enable people in poorer countries to access the internet. Founder Mark Zuckerberg decalred “connectivity is a human right”.
American authorities and major businesses have however sought to permit providers to strike commercial deals that give priority to one film streaming service over another, despite initial commitments not to do so. Sir Tim argues that such behaviour closes off huge parts of the web at a stroke, and prevents new services from ever being able to break through.
“There’s this huge corporate pushback,” he warned. “We’re seeing things in the balance.”
Marking the 25th anniversary of the web with the opening of a new, year-long festival called Web We Want at London’s South Bank Centre, Sir Tim said “We’ve got to use this year to get to a peak of understanding, public awareness and not taking it for granted.”
Take away message
Net Neutrality is critical. Boycott any ISP or product that breaks Net Neutrality – hurt them in their pocket, as they understand this.