25 years of the Internet – Happy Birthday WWWJclarke
What were you doing 25 years ago? A large amount of you might only have been a twinkle in your mother’s eye, but a quarter of a century ago a Brit called Tim Berners Lee created www. the Internet, dubbed at the time as the Information Superhighway.
It changed the world, it’s impact is everywhere and turned the World into one connected community.
25 years ago there were some momentous events such as; Tiananmen Square, who can forget the young student clutching plastic bags standing in front of the advancing tanks; the Fall of the Berlin Wall, when East Germany met West for the first time in decades; the first episode of the Simpsons, the most watched longest running cartoon series of all time; Sky TV broadcast the first satellite TV service in Britain, dishes adorned houses and we all wanted one; 96 football fans were killed in the Hillsborough disaster; the tragic Thames Marchioness Disaster killing 51 people; Black October when the World’s Stock Markets collapsed and the UK entered a long recession, house prices crashing; the End of the Cold War declared by Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev after 40 years.
Over the past 25 years young adults have grown up as the children of the Internet; Daniel Radcliffe, Rebecca Addlington were born, whilst Lord Laurence Olivier, Daphne du Maurier died 25 years ago.
Berners-Lee has since become a knight and is revered as the father of the Internet. He celebrates today with a call for the creation of a bill of rights, a Magna Carta to protect its users.
Always an outspoken critic of government surveillance, on the BBC today he said “It’s time for us to make a big communal decision,” he said. “In front of us are two roads – which way are we going to go?
“Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control – more and more surveillance?
“Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it’s so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?”
Sir Tim would like to see the Net as a neutral medium. The idea that the world wide web would end up playing such a huge role in people’s lives would have seemed “crazy” 25 years ago, said Sir Tim.
He admitted that the web represented “humanity connected”, involving both the “wonderful” and the “ghastly”. But he added: “I don’t have a lot of sympathy with people who say: ‘There’s so much rubbish on the web.’ “Well, if there’s so much rubbish, if it’s rubbish, don’t read it. Go read something else.”
So today we celebrate a rather wonderful day, who knows what the next 25 years on the world wide web will bring, but for sure it will be quite remarkable and even more awe inspiring to humanity than it is today.
Thanks Sir Tim – we owe you a lot