Accountability for the Algorithms

Longreads

The World Wide Web is about to reach an amazing and terrible milestone: soon, 50 percent of the world’s population will be online. For Vanity Fair, Katrina Brooker reports on how Tim Berners-Lee, reflecting on how corporations like Facebook and Google have misused his creation to manipulate and spy on users, is attempting to revive the original promise of an open and safe web for all. He’s building a new platform called Solid, to give users privacy and control over their information.

Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also…

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