Sir Tim Berners-Lee has given a series of interviews in which he has criticised how the internet has developed, condemning user privacy risks and harmful advertising practices.
The man credited with inventing the internet in 1989 said it can be “ridiculously revealing”, telling The Guardian that the Trump administration’s decision to allow internet service providers to sell users’ browsing habits is “disgusting” and “appalling”.
He is referring to a bill signed by President Trump repealing internet privacy rules passed last year, which would have required broadband providers to get customers’ permission to use or sell their “sensitive” data – such as browsing history, geolocation and financial and medical information.
Sir Berners-Lee also criticised the way “clickbait” journalism is affecting our society.
“Clickbait, which is written in such a seductive way that it’s almost impossible not to click on it, along with pop-up advertising, are both pushing people very, very hard so that they’re liable to lash back and just deliberately pay for anything that won’t have ads, basically” he said.
As any regular internet user will know, digital adverts are directly targeted at consumers, creating a profile using online data such as things you have browsed for, previous purchases and social media likes. This kind of tracking has become increasingly worrying to consumers across the globe.
In another interview, Sir Berners-Lee told Wired UK that online privacy should be a human right. He said, “You can’t mess with human rights like that without massive unexpected and very disastrous consequences.”
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