Sharing information online has the potential to improve society worldwide, said World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the recent 2013 World Economic Forum. Berners-Lee also said social networking sites should offer users more control over their personal data by allowing them to share it with other social networks. And he said governments should share information that is useful to the public, such as hospital health outcome data and pothole locations.
In addition, Berners-Lee said academic papers should be freely accessible, and online music requires a new business model that allows easier access while also paying musicians.
Internet activist Aaron Swartz was "an incredibly ethical person who thought a huge amount about what was right and how the world should be," and he used his programming skills to transform the world, Berners-Lee said of the 26-year-old programmer who committed suicide earlier this month. At the time of his death, Swartz was facing felony charges for downloading numerous academic papers. Berners-Lee noted Swartz downloaded public-domain court records from fee-based government systems and republished them for free to "point out that the government ought to be doing that."
The Internet still offers the opportunity for significant progress, Berners-Lee said, "World peace has not miraculously occurred," he said. "It hasn't really broken down cultural barriers. Can we develop systems that will cause that kind of change?"
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA