Internet Safety: Tim Berners-Lee deeply concerned

March 16, 2020

Tim Berners-Lee has expressed a series of internet safety concerns in an open letter to mark the 31st anniversary of the world wide web

Internet Safety: Tim Berners-Lee deeply concerned

In an open letter to mark the 31st anniversary of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee described a number of internet safety concerns, including how cyberbullying is forcing women out of jobs, damaging relationships  and mental health, and impacting freedom of speech.

Research gathered by the Tim Berners-Lee Foundation and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has identified that over half of young women and girls have experienced abuse and 87% believe that the problem is becoming worse.

A British computer scientist, Tim Berners Lee is most notably credited for inventing the world wide web.  He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, an organisation that develops international web standards.

Three particular areas were identified as problematic:

  • The digital divide which currently prevents half the world’s women from accessing the internet
  • Cyberbullying and online harassment which is frequently targeted towards  young women and girls
  • Artificial Intelligence that exacerbates prejudice

“ I am seriously concerned that online harms facing women and girls — especially those of colour, from LGBTQ+ communities and other minority groups — threaten that progress…This should concern us all. And at times like now, when coronavirus is closing offices and schools, the web becomes the only way we can continue to work, teach our children and get vital health information to keep ourselves safe. ” Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium

Within the letter, Tim reiterates that a collective responsibility is required to tackle these issues which should involve politicians, business managers, academics and IT professionals.  Last year he launched the Contract for the Web, a global initiative with the premise of developing a collaboration between experts to tackle the aforementioned issues.

Further details are available here: