Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for net-neutrality at FDI forum in Sharjah

Web inventor spoke at event held at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for net-neutrality at FDI forum in Sharjah Berners-Lee: "A personal data revolution is very much needed and is currently being developed in laboratories". (ITP Images)
By  Helen Gaskell Published  February 9, 2015

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, presented the opening session at the 2015 World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), held in Sharjah this morning.

In his keynote, which was entitled "Leapfrogging Competition: Tech Strategy for Business" Berners-Lee called on the world to keep the neutrality of the worldwide web while explaining that the European Union is currently looking into making it a legislation.

"Internet carries so much traffic essential to our daily lives. It is very powerful and should not have an attitude to what we are doing. It is very important to humanity to be able to have the right medium," he said.

When asked about the issue of privacy versus surveillance and monitoring terrorism, Berners-Lee said that governments should build systems under controlled conditions and that are accountable to people.

"Since the Internet spying issue has been brought up, there has been a global awareness on the kind of World Wide Web needed. Do people want a private or anonymous web or to what conditions and where?  Huge discussions are on and people have become very concerned about their personal data. Companies use personal information to customise it to advertisements. A personal data revolution is very much needed and is currently being developed in laboratories," he continued.

Berners-Lee was also against calls for government to stop putting data on the web while stressing that businesses are already on computers. "In principle, every website is a possible attack target but governments have to regularly protect the system and make sure they are secure and disinfected."

The World Wide Web inventor said that he expects a continuing trend of data growth, which is vital for the survival of the web. He said: "The open data world is really important if you a running a region, country or city. It is really valuable for you to take all the data you have about that city or country and to put it out there on the web."

During the coming period, Sir Berners-Lee expects the world of technology to witness a series of negatives and positives.

"Battles between citizens and governments are turning into more of collaborations and more collaboration will emerge between engineers and lawyers because law and code have to be developed together. I hope we see collaboration between scientists solving huge problems and I wish webs are built on systems that are not based on countries because the internet does not have country boundaries and is a non-national medium," he added.

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