30 years of the web – something worth celebrating! Naturally, it’s top of the bill in this edition of “Catching up”.
Yes, it’s already 30 years since the web entered our lives. Since 1989, this network of interconnected pages (not to be confused with the Internet, the network of networks) has witnessed the arrival, and sometimes departure, of a myriad of services and technologies: Yahoo, AOL, Firefox, IE, and all the others… The major dates in its development are everywhere, on the web in fact. But if you weren’t there (nudge to generations Y and Z), how can you appreciate the incredible growth of this medium? The global Web Archives platform has backed up more than 349 billion pages… The CERN, where it all began, pays a superb tribute to the web by allowing you to surf on a copy of the first ever browser! It’s a shock to the system to say the least! But at the age of 30, does today’s web even vaguely resemble what its inventor first imagined? Tim Berners-Lee, now president of the W3C, gives a mixed response when he looks back at the development of his creation – to some extent deformed, undermined by attacks, censored or diverted to the benefit of certain regimes. Berners-Lee refuses to believe that the evolution of the web is over – stating that it is not too late to change the Web. The pioneer also believes in a decentralised, anti-silo web that would empower the user. On privacy issues, he explained that people are often unaware of the collective (vs. individual) consequences of the misuse of their personal data, using the example of Cambridge Analytica.
Forgotten by Facebook
Zuckerberg has put on his ‘defence of privacy’ face and is promising users a ‘right to be forgotten’, giving them the option of permanently deleting their messages posted on the platform. It is hard to believe, considering the number of issues surrounding him for last few months. But it is above all his perception of privacy that is worrying. For him, privacy is simply defined between the users of the social platform (which of my friends can see which content) – with zero regard for Facebook’s (sometimes illegal) exploitation of user data. Basically, fake naivety to announce false good news. The social network is reportedly considering merging the messaging of its third-party applications (Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger), for the time being outside any legal framework.
Economising on information
Quantity does not necessarily equate to quality. ‘Less is more’ takes on its full meaning when the overload of information makes us lose all power to make decisions. There are numerous examples of the problems of ‘infobesity’: the dilemma of running away or staying at home when a hurricane is approaching – if the internet and TV weather forecasts said it wasn’t; the fact that factual scientific evidence on the dangers of climate change is not really changing our consumption patterns; even something as simple as the impossibility of choosing a series or film when faced with limitless choice. @scientificamerican is interested in the paradox of choice when too much information paralyses our actions, resulting in total relativism, leading to the absence of decision making.
What we measure is not always useful, especially because anything hidden… is not measured.Irénée Régnauld (@maisouvaleweb – French tech publication)
Legal by design
It can take hours to read the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs)… Have a look at the I agree project which explains this ongoing issue. Who actually reads the T&Cs these days? We accept the conditions instantly without even understanding them… So how do we go about changing this? By making them more readable and introducing standard icons of course. However, the challenge is to find a visual vocabulary everyone understands. Fortunately, there are numerous initiatives underway, within the framework of GDPR compliance, to improve this!
Companies looking to recruit developers…
The bottom of the ocean
We tend to think that everything on the internet is happening in the cloud. However, in fact it’s beneath the waves.
See you next time on the Internets!
New York Times