World Wide Web's 30th Anniversary
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Sir Tim Berners-Lee used the occasion of the World Wide Web's 30th anniversary to reflect on how the web has transformed the world and to acknowledge the problems that need to be tackled. 

On March 12th, 1989 Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for an information management system to his boss at CERN, Mike Sendall, who annotated it with "Vague, but exciting". This document was the sketch that led to the World Wide Web that today celebrates its 30th Anniversary.


Tim Berners-Lee has continued to be intimately involved with the WWW throughout its development.  He is the founder and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which sets technical standards for web development, as well as the World Wide Web Foundation, which aims to establish the open web as a public good and a basic right

It is the World Wide Web Foundation that is spearheading the global #ForTheWeb campaign to persuade governments, companies and the public to stand up for a free, open and safe web that benefits everyone. Launching the campaign last year the Foundation's message was:

The free and open web is facing real challenges. More than half of the world’s population still are not online. For the other half, the web’s undeniable benefits seem to come with far too many unacceptable risks: to our privacy, our democracy, even our mental health.

Speaking at a Web@30 conference at CERN, Berners-Lee acknowledged that a sense among many who are already on the Web has become:

"Whoops! The web is not the web we wanted in every respect."

Elaborating on this idea in a blog post on the World Wide Web Foundation, Berners-Lee writes:

...while the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit.


The World Wide Web Foundation wants to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a greater role in shaping the web for good under principles laid out in its Contract for the Web, which is supported by many prominent individuals, companies and organizations.

Under the contract, governments are called upon to make sure everyone can connect to the internet, to keep it available and to respect privacy. Companies are to make the internet affordable, respect privacy and develop technology that will put people — and the "public good" — first. Citizens are to create and to cooperate and respect "civil discourse," among other things.

According to Berners-Lee:

The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time. Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity.

The Contract for the Web must not be a list of quick fixes but a process that signals a shift in how we understand our relationship with our online community. It must be clear enough to act as a guiding star for the way forward but flexible enough to adapt to the rapid pace of change in technology. It’s our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible and inclusive future.

The web is for everyone and collectively we hold the power to change it. It won’t be easy. But if we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want.

More Information

30 years on, what’s next #ForTheWeb?

Related Articles

CERN Celebrates 20 Years of World Wide Web 

The Web Turns 20

The Web - The Early Years 

Tim Berners-Lee Awarded Turing Prize

Queen Elizabeth Prize For Engineering Recognizes Internet and Web 

{loadposition signup

{loadposition moreNEWS}

{loadposition moreNEWSlist}

{loadposition comment}


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 March 2019 )