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Sir Tim Gets Behind 'One Web' Foundation

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is on a mission to keep the Web open, free and serving the needs of society -- such as calling out sites that spread false information and helping to support democracy.

The conduit for this latest push to protect and improve the Web? The World Wide Web Foundation, which the founder of the Web launched yesterday with the help of $5 million in seed money from the Knight Foundation, which exists to support journalistic endeavors and community building.

He said the seed money will help the Web Foundation with three key purposes:

  • advancing One Web that is free and open
  • expand the Web's capability and robustness
  • extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet.
  • "The Web Foundation will bring together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, and experts in many fields to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale," he said in prepared remarks.

    "Through research, technology development and the application of the Web for the benefit of underserved communities, the foundation seeks to enable all people to share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance, and communicate in creative ways."

    Berners-Lee recently gave press interviews in London that expressed concerns for what he called an effort to spread disinformation about the Web.

    He was referring to recent false reports that claimed that the Large Hadron Collider experiment, which CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is using to study the cosmos, could create a black hole that could swallow the earth. Berners-Lee worked with CERN to create the Web. His comments also came after hackers reportedly cracked into CERN's computers in a bid to point out weak spots in the system's security.

    It was this example, as well as his concern about making sure less networked spots of the globe can benefit from the Web that Sir Tim wants to address through the Web Foundation. "The Web is a tremendous platform for innovation, but we face a number of challenges to making it more useful, in particular to people in underserved communities," he said in a release announcing the launch.

    "Through this new initiative, we hope to develop an international ecosystem that will help shape the future Web. A more inclusive Web will benefit us all."

    The groups said social development efforts will focus initially on underserved populations. From there, the groups added, the Web foundation will identify benefits of the Web for these communities, and issues of access to (and availability of) relevant, usable and useful content. The foundation will do so through support of ongoing and new efforts to develop critical services related to better health care, nutrition, education, and emergency relief.