Dame Wendy Hall Proclaims It's Our Internet, We Must Protect It

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Gabey Goh of the Malay Mail Online recently shared highlights from a lecture that Dame Wendy Hall gave at the University of Southampton’s Nusajaya Johor campus. Goh writes, “Science fiction author William Gibson famously defined ‘cyberspace’ as “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators in every nation” in his 1984 book Neuromancer. However, this consensual hallucination that now underpins a very real economy, a digitally-driven network of information, goods and services, is not without its weaknesses. ‘The scary thing is that the Internet as we know it is still a baby and we have to take care of it. We created the Web, so it’s up to us as a society to look after it, to help make sure our governments or big companies not do things to it,’ Hall said. On-going issues with online social etiquette and cyber-bullying form part of the current crop of issues that can only be solved if we begin with education, Hall believes.”

Goh continues, “According to Hall, the need for the digital population to exercise its voice is especially pertinent against the backdrop of on-going revelations and discussions sparked by the public outing of America’s National Security Agency’s clandestine surveillance activities via initiatives such as PRISM. ‘The most important thing to push for now is a code of conduct for governments and big corporations that collect or already hold our data. There is a need for these entities to be open and transparent about the collection of information that they are doing,’ she said.”

Goh adds, “Hall’s more recent work has been focused on the ‘Semantic Web,’ a collaborative movement led by the international standards body, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The term was coined by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. The standard promotes common data formats on the World Wide Web. By encouraging the inclusion of semantic content in web pages, the Semantic Web aims to converting the current Web, dominated by unstructured and semi-structured documents, into a ‘web of data’.”

Read the full article here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ mtzempelikou

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