March 11, 2014

Statement from Sir Tim Berners-Lee on the 25th Anniversary of the Web

This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Web. The Web has without doubt transformed our lives in the US, but some debate its true impact. Has the Web tended to bring us together or polarized discourse? Has easy access to information improved our policies and decision-making, or has it amounted to noise?

This study and others conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University provide us with raw data and valuable insights on many of these pressing questions. As one example, we can put to bed the question of whether people feel the Internet brings them together or isolates them: This survey tells us that most connected users in the US believe the Web has strengthened their relationships.

As the Web enters its next quarter century, we urgently need even more data to inform the current debate on what it will take to enhance and defend the Web. The Web community – and the world at large – are wrestling with tough issues around security, surveillance, privacy, open infrastructure, net neutrality, content protection, and more. These global decisions must be made based on the best possible information.  When the deep Pew Research Center analysis in the US and data from global studies such as the World Wide Web Foundation’s Web Index are considered together, they can inform decisions that will shape our world.

We have built an amazing resource over a short 25 years. I believe it is vital enough that we must all take greater action to enhance and defend it. Need more insight into just how valuable the Web can be in the USA and why? These reports will set you on your way.

— Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web