Web Creator Shares Fears Of Bogus Science Rumours

Dennis Faas's picture

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web, says there may be a need for independent labelling of websites to distinguish between reliable and bogus scientific information.

He told the BBC such a system could be useful in combating the unchecked spreading of rumours which have plagued both the Large Hadron Collider scheme and the distribution of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to children.

He added that it's probably not appropriate to score sites for credibility; rather that sites with a proven record of accuracy could get a seal of approval.

The interview came as Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web Foundation, an organization aiming to make it easier for people to get online. He points to the fact that only 20% of the world's population currently have access to the web, and that this figure is heavily biased towards developed, Western nations.

The foundation will pay particular attention to projects to make the Internet more accessible on handheld devices such as mobile phones, which are far more common than computers in developing nations.

Berners-Lee also argued that it may be necessary to make sure large corporations don't have too much influence on the Internet because it has so much effect on many people's lives: "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. It's where I go maybe to decide what sort of religion I'm going to belong to or not belong to; it's where I go to decide what is actual scientific truth -- what I'm actually going to go along with and what is bunkum". (Source: bbc.co.uk)

The foundation is funded by a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation, a non-profit group primarily concerned with funding journalism schemes. (Source: vnunet.com)

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