‘World Wide Web’ turns 25

25 years ago the internet was nothing more than an idea of ​​a computer specialist unknown in a European laboratory, and no one would dream that shortly after the “World Wide Web” (www) would become a worldwide phenomenon that has changed the lives of billions of people.

Briton Tim Berners-Lee worked in a lab at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) when he thought of an easy way to access the files of interconnected computers.

He formed this idea in an article published on March 12, 1989, adopted as the starting date for the birth of the “World Wide Web”.

The idea was so bold that ran the risk of never becoming reality.

“There was a great deal of pride in the beginning of the project,” he said in an interview with AFP Marc Weber, creator and curator of the program on the history of the Internet in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

“Tim Berners-Lee proposed the nothing without someone had asked, this whole system of document management”, and beginning his colleagues “completely ignored” Weber says.

The web and its rivals
in a basic explanation, the web is a software to browse the information that is online. Its distinguishing characteristic is the ability to click on links to open the files on computers that can be anywhere.

Berners-Lee finally convinced CERN to adopt the system after demonstrating its usefulness compiling a directory lab in an online index.

But even so, the battle was not won.

The U.S. military began studying the idea of ​​connecting computers in networks in the 1950s, and in 1969 launched the Arpanet, precursor to today’s Internet.

Initially, the web had rivals such as CompuServe and emulation, for example. But they were paid, while the system Berners-Lee allowed to publish content for free on machines connected to the network, said Marc Weber.

Vice President Al Gore had an important role in the decision of government departments to incorporate the web, and the launch in 1994 of the White House website was a seal of approval.

Since then, while growing a rattling pace the amount of information stored on the servers, giants like Google and Yahoo were born as services to help people to find interesting pages.

“The personal computer has changed the way we work, but the web has revolutionized and changed many areas,” says Michael McGuire, an analyst at research firm Gartner.

The ability to access and download the files for free on the internet has transformed the traditional models of activities such as music, film and the media.

“Anyone can be a listener, anyone can be a publisher, on the same network. Has never been anything like this,” said Jim Dempsey, vice president in charge of public policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, based in Washington.

Freedom Threatened
An important principle of the Internet is its egalitarian and open nature, but this condition is under threat, warns Jim Dempsey.

“The problem is that it can limit the ability of people to criticize the government, or create a multi-speed internet it harder for innovators, critics or defenders of human rights to reach a worldwide audience.”

The unified web internet, but nothing is “written in stone” and could shatter again, according to Marc Weber.

In the United States, the major providers of Internet access is assigned the right to treat some preferred way of data circulating online.

Governments try to reduce the protection of private data online and in some cases restrict freedom of internet access by blocking pages or services.

Another issue at stake is access to the web of billions of people in emerging markets, particularly with the use of smartphones. “The web is only half done, and is not global,” recalls Marc Weber.