sir tim berners-lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has stated that internet access should be a basic human right. over the last year, the internet has proven to be a lifeline for many people during the pandemic, allowing individuals and companies to adapt and carry on. however, citing data that says only the top third of under-25s have a home internet connection, berners-lee says that we now need to invest in new infrastructure to get the web into the hands of every young person on earth.


writing in a blog post on the occasion of the web’s 32nd birthday, berners-lee and web foundation co-founder rosemary leith shine a light on nine young people whose work demonstrates the potential of the internet. for example, in uganda, peter okwoko used the web to gather the expertise needed to transform plastic waste into PPE urgently needed to treat COVID-19 patients.


however, with a third of young people having no internet access at all, the duo believe that far too many young people remain excluded and unable to use the web to share their talents and ideas. ‘every young person who can’t connect represents a lost opportunity for new ideas and innovations that could serve humanity,’ the post reads. ‘as we did with electricity last century, we must recognize internet access as a basic right and we must work to make sure all young people can connect to a web that gives them the power to shape their world.’


two years ago, berners-lee said that the fight for the web was one of the most important causes of our time. now, the web inventor is calling on leaders to rapidly scale investment to make sure everyone, everywhere is within reach of a meaningful internet connection, with the speeds, data, and devices they need to make the most of the web. the alliance for affordable internet (A4AI), an initiative of the web foundation, has calculated that $428 billion USD of additional investment over ten years would provide everyone a quality broadband connection.


the post also calls for ‘inclusive’ technology that respects the rights of young people, while holding technology companies to account. to help shape more responsible technology, the web foundation is establishing a ‘tech policy design lab’ that will start by tackling online gender-based violence and abuse against women. read the post in full on the world wide web foundation website.


photo: paul clarke, CC BY-SA 4.0, via wikimedia commons