12 votes

Tim Berners-Lee proposes "Contract for the Web": a set of principles to guide a better development of the Internet

6 comments

  1. [6]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Link to the Contract website (PDF version available on linked page) I'm skeptical about the whole thing. It sounds much like the Green New Deal, but where GND recognizes that it's an ambitious...

    Link to the Contract website (PDF version available on linked page)

    I'm skeptical about the whole thing. It sounds much like the Green New Deal, but where GND recognizes that it's an ambitious framework that needn't be scored-on perfectly to see the positive effects, the Contract seems to take itself with the seriousness of the actual New Deal.

    What bothers me even more is that some of the worst offenders have backed the Contract already, even if just out of publicity. Microsoft (after lending a hand to ICE in what amounts to human rights abuse), Twitter (with their shady "political and/or ad" policies), Facebook (don't get me started), and Google (ditto)...

    It's not to say that big companies can't make a striking change in policies within five years that the Contract seems to aim at. What concerns me is that the companies – especially big, near-monopoly-type companies – have little incentive to change after signing a digital slip of paper. Yes, the Contract dictates that the supporters who've been found to violate the Contract are expulsed from the list of supporters... then what?

    Is Google going to be shamed into submission by a company with no real power declaring them excommunicado? It's the same company that deals with whistleblower risk – after someone exposed their illegal health data collection – by cancelling its weekly Friday meetings (alternative link, in case the first one isn't open enough: I wouldn't know, neither renders in my cookie-less browser).

    This sounds as close to no-strings-attached commitment as you can get when Internet Freedom™ is at stake.

    11 votes
    1. [5]
      fifthecho
      Link Parent
      I agree with your sentiments. I read the NY Times article and felt like Berners-Lee has some good ideas...but then I visited the website for the contract and saw that Google, Facebook, and Twitter...

      I agree with your sentiments. I read the NY Times article and felt like Berners-Lee has some good ideas...but then I visited the website for the contract and saw that Google, Facebook, and Twitter have signed and lost all hope that this will result in any real change at all.

      It's not in these companies best interests to abide by the idea of ensuring that the web is an open marketplace. They have engaged in countless behaviors over the years to consolidate more and more of the web under their umbrellas and remove competition.

      7 votes
      1. reese
        Link Parent
        Well, of course those companies signed the contract. They were handed an opportunity for good PR, and naturally took it. The problem with the contract is not so much that these companies signed...

        Well, of course those companies signed the contract. They were handed an opportunity for good PR, and naturally took it. The problem with the contract is not so much that these companies signed it, it's that any organization is freely given the opportunity to do so from the start. Why should any organization have an equal seat at the table of Internet freedom when they've an extensive history of trampling upon it? Come foxes, come guard this henhouse.

        What could make the contract work is if it advocated actionable change exclusively among individuals. Then, if the right Google employees are on board, then they orchestrate work with EFF members and others in a decentralized manner. Barring that, the contract is lip service for some, and an exercise in feel-good naivety for others.

        7 votes
      2. [3]
        elcuello
        Link Parent
        Wasn't this the exact theme of the latest Silicon Valley episode?

        Wasn't this the exact theme of the latest Silicon Valley episode?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          fifthecho
          Link Parent
          Sadly I haven't watched it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. Silicon Valley really should be commended more for it's astoundingly accurate depiction of working in high-tech. I am unable of...

          Sadly I haven't watched it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. Silicon Valley really should be commended more for it's astoundingly accurate depiction of working in high-tech.

          I am unable of watching season 3 (...or is it 4?) when The Box comes into the show because I have personally been in that meeting of throwing out the worst possible ideas and having the leadership team latch onto the dumbest idea and insisting we run with it. That season hits a little too close to home for me.

          1 vote
          1. elcuello
            Link Parent
            Yes, it really is a great show and how funny is it that a show that's so weird and over the top hits so close to home for people in tech. I mean if they managed to scare you away with their...

            Yes, it really is a great show and how funny is it that a show that's so weird and over the top hits so close to home for people in tech. I mean if they managed to scare you away with their accuracy they must be doing something right.