Founding father of the internet opens new web foundation

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a key figure in the formation of the World Wide Web, has announced the creation of a new group to advance a "free and open" internet.

The World Wide Web Foundation, which is expected to launch next year, has been awarded $5m of seed funding from the John S and James L Knight Foundation, and aims to increase access to the internet for underserved populations, as well as help all internet users judge the reliability of content available online.

"The Web is a tremendous platform for innovation, but we face a number of challenges to making it more useful, in particular to people in underserved communities," Berners-Lee, who is also the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, said.

"Through this new initiative, we hope to develop an international ecosystem that will help shape the future Web. A more inclusive Web will benefit us all."

Only one fifth of the world are currently able to use the internet regularly. Further challenges facing the web include its widespread regulation by governments, exampled most infamously by the 'great firewall of China'.

"One of the things I always remain concerned about is that that medium remains neutral," he told the BBC.

"It's not just where I go to decide where to buy my shoes which is the commercial incentive - it's where I go to decide who I'm going to trust to vote."

Sir Tim Berners-Lee helped develop the hypertext system by which computers on the internet are able to communicate with each other whilst working at CERN in the late 1980s, for which he was awarded the Millenium Technology prize in 2004, and was knighted in 2003.

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