Post author By Charlie June 9, 2022
Tim Berners-Lee – Inventor of the World Wide Web (My
Featured Photo: By Paul Clarke from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
A little while ago I talked about presenting something I had made for the first time in front
of people (yeah, over video call but still a big deal for me) and I also mentioned I would
turn it into a blogpost and well here it is.
The presentation was the main project of an online mini-course on cybersecurity.
Not going to lie I feel a little down right now over something that has taken place today
but I’ll come on to that tomorrow in my Weekly Update post.
So, without further ado… my presentation in blogpost format.
Who is Tim Berners-Lee?
He is a computer scientist born in London, England on the 8 June 1955.
Lee attended Oxford and later worked at the European Organisation for Nuclear
While at Oxford Lee graduated with a first-class degree in physics, he had no particular
plans for his future. He would subsequently land a series of jobs at different companies as
a programmer, but none of them lasted long. It was not until the early 1980s when he got
a consulting position at CERN, near Geneva, that his life would begin to change.
He Came Up with the World Wide Web
Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay
Tim Berners-Lee is best known as the man who ‘invented’ the World Wide Web –
connecting networks via hyperlinks to be more standardised and accessible than
He invented it while at the European Particle Physics Laboratory in 1989. He also
wrote the first web client and web server in 1990.
Although Lee’s boss at CERN said that his idea was “Vague by exciting” he luckily
allowed Berners-Lee to work on it as a side-project.
Lee specified a standard of URIs, HTTP, and HTML for the World Wide Web which
come along, HTTPS and various other common standards would later follow and
continue to evolve to this day).
A URI is a Uniform Resource Identifier used by web technologies that enables
identification of things – such as web pages. In the most basic sense, it is a direct link to a
thing/place. But there is more complexity than that obviously.
The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a specific type of URI. URLs are actually a
fundamental part of what makes the Web the Web and enables it to be distinct from the
Internet. The Internet itself is defined by protocols which have been used by applications
such as email and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) since 1969 – Although the Internet
Protocol (IP) itself did not become distinct until 1978. The Web itself requires clients and
servers to use the Internet Protocol (IP) (AKA have an internet connection) to access the
Web, which is why World Wide Web and Internet are often used interchangeably,
although it is important to understand they are different things.
HTTP is Hypertext Transfer Protocol which is an application layer protocol that allows the
client to send a request-response protocol (such as by clicking hyperlinks or performing
other actions on a website) to a server. You will see HTTP or HTTPS at the beginning of
website links. Without HTTP accessing and using websites would not be possible.
HTTPS is the encrypted version of HTTP – encrypted to provide security to clients using
It is important to never input important information into websites that use HTTP as for
example your password would not be encrypted when inputted like it would be on
websites using HTTPS – so always check the start of website links! Unencrypted
passwords or other sensitive information inputted into a website using HTTP can easily
be obtained by attackers who are snooping on the network with little effort.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) of course is a programming language – a very
simple one – that is used to actually display content and create working functions on
websites. Now a days it is almost always used alongside CSS (for better style and
Lee said himself that he took the already existing hypertext idea and connected it to the
Transmission Control Protocol (an important protocol used by the internet) and domain
system ideas to create the Web.
The World Wide Web was initially conceived and developed to meet the demand for
automated information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes
around the world. This made it so information was not locked to specific
computers/networks and was thus harder to move around.
The World Wide Web has since expanded into much more.
This is thanks to Lee and CERN releasing the source code of his brain child for free,
with the aim of it becoming an open and democratic platform for all.
Interesting Facts About Tim Berners-Lee
Photo by Uldis Bojars from Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0. Source.
As a student at Oxford in the early 1970s, Berners-Lee built his own computer using
an old television and a soldering iron.
His parents helped create the first commercial stored-program electronic computer
– the Ferranti Mark I.
The first website went live on 6 August 1991 – this was info.cern.ch
Berners-Lee was honoured during the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
One of Time magazine’s “100 Most Important People of the 20 Century”.
He was also a very keen trainspotter when he was a child and he enjoyed playing with
model railways – from which he claims to have learnt a lot about electronics. He also
apparently still drives a 15-year-old Volkswagen Rabbit simply because he wants to.
What Else Does He Do?
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
He continues to have a great dedication to his creation – especially in its free
availability as well as enhancing and protecting it.
He is the Founding Director of the World Wide Web Foundation, with a mission to
ensure the web serves humanity by promoting it as a global public good and basic
He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which sets voluntary global
standards to unlock the full potential of the World Wide Web.
Furthermore – Lee is looking to agree on a sort-of web contract with governments and
Big Tech companies which would include both legal and technical rules as a way to stop
the Web being misused for things like misinformation and clickbait that is commercially
awarded by things like ad-based revenue. He also wants such a thing to protect and
enhance human rights, privacy, democracy, scientific facts, and public safety on the Web.
He also wants requirements for better business practices on the Web and regulation of
the app economy, among other things.
The Solid Project
Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay
Solid is Lee’s next big project to protect people’s data.
It allows people to store and control their data securely in decentralised data stores
Data and access rules for each Pod are distinct from one another.
So, you control access to the data in your Pod. You decide what data to share and with
whom (be it individuals, organisations, and/or apps). Furthermore, you have the power to
revoke access at any time.
Lee created this project due to growing concerns over how people, organisations
and governments are using people’s data.
Berners-Lee has long been concerned with how social media platforms and other
companies’ applications use people’s data. Some big examples include the whole Russia
US election fiasco in 2016, and Facebook exposing data to Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook has also conducted psychological experiments on its users previously. As well
as that both Google and Amazon have filed patent applications for devices that listen for
mood shifts and emotions in its user’s voices.
Companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon among others have monopolized so
many things that happen online nowadays. Berners-Lee sees this as very dystopian and
against the original purpose of the Web being open, free and democratic.
Berners-Lee’s ultimate goal is to re-decentralise the World Wide Web.
He has A LOT of Awards (Don’t be Jealous!)
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Far too many to name all of them… but some are… …
The Order of Merit.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE)
Fellowship of the Royal Society.
Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and
Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.
Received a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
One of only six members of the World Wide Web Hall of Fame (rightfully so!)
Among numerous other awards and national honours.
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