Why is Tim Berners Lee who invented the Internet still waiting for a knighthood

What have the inventors of the miners' safety lamp, the hovercraft, and the C5 electric car got in common? The answer: they all...

What have the inventors of the miners' safety lamp, the hovercraft, and the C5 electric car got in common? The answer: they all have knighthoods.

John Riley

Groundswell

But what about the inventor of the World-Wide Web? How many know that it was a Brit that harnessed the power of the Internet for the masses in the early 1990s to transform world communications for ever?

If anyone deserves a dubbing it is Tim Berners-Lee - on three counts: valour, honour, and virtue.

He stuck to his guns against all the odds on short-term contracts at the Cern research centre in Geneva, when he should have being doing something else.

He honourably and resolutely refused any temptation to take out patents for the Web which would surely have propelled him into the serious wealth league. But his high ideals for a free, unfettered Web shone through.

Finally, appreciating the dark side as well as the upside of the Web, he has, through the World-Wide-Web Consortium personally pushed forward standard privacy hooks to enable Web sites to classify themselves and Web users to self-censor themselves - a boon for anyone with young children.

If our honours system has any remaining vestige of credibility, then surely there is here no more worthy a candidate for a "K" - or, at the very least, a peerage.

This was last published in October 2000

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