The World Wide Web has its birthday today and will be 30 years! Hard to believe that it is still so young – In today’s world can you imagine living or working without it? We’re online anytime, anywhere, using social networks, communicating via email and video chat, and getting all sorts of information delivered directly to the device of choice at your fingertips. The World Wide Web has turned our lives completely upside down and also changed it forever. In many ways for the better. However, some things should be considered with concern.
Already 20 years before the WWW there were first Internet services such as FTP or email. But in the broad masses they did not arrive. Only when Tim Berners-Lee presented a concept on 12 March 1989 as a CERN researcher, with which texts and graphics could be accessed on the Internet with a hypertext browser and with which content was linked via hyperlinks, a new era was initiated. The WWW conquered the world in no time and today is equated with the Internet itself. Responsible for the success was above all the fact that the WWW was a free network – others like AOL and Compuserve tried to establish closed networks at the same time and thus failed. Also, that a consortium rather than a company, set the rules of the WWW, was positively received by the users.
At the time, the plan was to use the World Wide Web to establish a neutral and open platform in which no one could exercise central authority over content. Is this basic idea today, 30 years later, still up to date? On the user side, you certainly want that, but governments and authorities see it a little differently. Even companies make sure that it is not as decentralized as it should be. The power of big platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook & Co prove that every day. In addition, net neutrality is repeatedly threatened or already completely abolished by some governments. Freedom of information, for example, is also on the brink in Europe and filters are standard in many countries.
So the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web is not necessarily to celebrate, because it goes on and it will soon no longer exist in this form.