The world wide web celebrated its 32nd birthday earlier this month. The man credited with its invention penned a letter to mark the occasion, but the letter was far more ambitious than your typical birthday card.
Tim Berners-Lee, an England-born computer scientist, launched the world wide web on March 12, 1989. Berners-Lee has been deeply involved in the web ever since, leading important research and founding advocacy groups.
To celebrate the web’s 32nd birthday, Berners-Lee wrote and released a letter, pushing for more accessibility to the web for young people.
“A third of young people have no internet access at all,” he wrote. “Many more lack the data, devices and reliable connection they need to make the most of the web.”
In the letter, Berners-Lee explains that children and young adults are growing up in a world that requires web access and knowledge to get ahead. The lack of consistent accessibility, he explains, creates disadvantages for some.
“Only the top third of ‘under-25s’ have a home internet connection, according to Unicef, leaving 2.2 billion young people without the stable access they need to learn online, which has helped so many others continue their education during the pandemic,” he wrote.
Berners-Lee wrote a similar letter last summer following the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, he argued that access to the web should be considered a universal human right. Specifically, he described how inconsistencies in web access set people apart — “these inequalities fall along the familiar lines of wealth, race and rural [versus] urban divides,” he wrote.