Web @ 30

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Web @ 30: Thank you for the WWW

This image is a screen grab of Computer Weekly's website from March 15, 2006. Like many businesses,Computer Weekly has needed to evolve in the age of the web. Its readers, senior IT professionals, have also needed to change as their businesses adopt increasingly more sophisticated web technologies.

The winners on the web will be the organisations that have agile business models, that can adapt quickly to new opportunities.

But while bricks and mortar businesses have needed to comply with local laws, pay business rates and need to invest in buildings and hire tax-paying staff, online businesses have used global web connectivity to flaunt local regulations.They  get around employee law by not having permanent staff, and often relocate their head office in tax havens.

This has meant that traditional firms are at a disadvantage and today’s web appears to be owned by a few, mega businesses.

As the web turns 30, perhaps now is the time to sit back and evaluate how best to curb some of its excesses.

The House of Lords, Select Committee on Communications’ Regulating in a Digital World paper, published on March 9, warns: “The digital world has become dominated by a small number of very large companies. These companies enjoy a substantial advantage, operating with an unprecedented knowledge of users and other businesses. Without intervention the largest tech companies are likely to gain more control”.

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