World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee released an ambitious rule book for online governance — a bill of rights and obligations for the internet — designed to counteract the growing prevalence of such anti-democratic poisons as misinformation, mass surveillance and censorship.
The product of a year's work by the World Wide Web Foundation where Berners-Lee is a founding director, the " Contract for the Web " seeks commitments from governments and industry to make and keep knowledge freely available — a digital policy agenda true to the design vision of the 30-year-old web.
The contract is non-binding, however. And funders and partners in the endeavor include Google and Facebook, whose data-collecting business models and sensation-rewarding algorithms have been blamed for exacerbating online toxicity.
"We haven't had a fairly complex, fairly complete plan of action for the web going forward," Berners-Lee said in an interview. "This is the first time we've had a rule book in which responsibility is being shared."
For instance, the contract proposes a framework for protecting online privacy and personal data with clearly defined national laws that give individuals greater control over the data collected about them. Independent, well-resourced regulators would offer the public effective means for redress. Current laws and institutions don't measure up to that standard.
Amnesty International just released a report charging that Google and Facebook's business models are predicated on the abuse of human rights.
Berners-Lee nevertheless says that "having them in the room is really important." He said both companies had approached the foundation seeking participation.
"We feel that companies and governments deserve equal seats at the table and understanding where they're coming from is equally valuable," he said. "To have this conversation around a table without the tech companies, it just wouldn't have the clout and we wouldn't have ended up with the insights."
The nonprofit foundation's top donors include the Swedish, Canadian and U.S. governments and the Ford and Omidyar foundations.
One of its biggest challenges is the growing balkanization of the internet, with national governments led by China, Russia and Iran exerting increasing technical control over their domestic networks, tightening censorship and surveillance.
"The trend for balkanization is really worrying and it's extreme at the moment in Iran," said Berners-Lee. A strong government exhibits tolerance, the computer scientist added, for "other voices, opposition voices, foreign voices to be heard by its citizens."
So how to prevent governments from restricting internet access at their borders?
One approach, said Berners-Lee, could be financial pressure. Multinational lenders could condition lower interest rates, for example, on a nation's willingness to let information flow freely on its domestic network.
Elon Musk says Tesla has received nearly 150,000 orders for its new electric pickup truck since the automaker revealed the futuristic vehicle earlier this week to mixed reviews.
The Tesla CEO tweeted Saturday that the company received 146,000 orders for the wedge-shaped "Cybertruck" since is unveiling Thursday night.
Musk said 17% of the orders are for the single-motor model, 42% are for the dual-motor version and 41% are for the tri-motor model.
The much-hyped unveiling went off script when its supposedly unbreakable window glass splintered twice when hit with a large metal ball. Some analysts panned the truck's blocky, angular looks.
Placing an order costs buyers $100, which Tesla says is fully refundable.
Tesla has said the "Cybertruck," which starts at $39,900, will be in production in 2021.
U.S. top electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc. has received 146,000 reservations for its new Cybertruck since it was unveiled only two days ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk disclosed Saturday.
The all-electric pickup truck with a futuristic design was launched Thursday on the eve of the 2019 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, Southern California.
"146,000 Cybertruck orders so far, with 42 percent choosing dual, 41 percent tri and 17 percent single motor," Musk tweeted Saturday, adding that the massive volume of pre-orders were made "with no advertising and no paid endorsement," which reflected consumers' huge interest in the new truck.
The eye-catching and unique design of Cybertruck included its adoption of the same stainless steel alloy as that of the spaceship manufactured by SpaceX, another company owned by Musk.
Cybertruck features three versions: a single-motor rear-wheel drive, a dual-motor all-wheel drive and a triple-motor all-wheel drive, with prices ranging from 39,900 U.S. dollars to 69,900 dollars, according to Tesla.
The company said the triple-motor version can tow more than 6,000 kg with a range of up to 800 km on a single charge.
Musk said 41 percent customers picked the most expensive 69,900-dollar tri-motor model and 42 percent chose the dual motor version, while the remaining 17 percent preferred the cheapest single-motor mode.
Production of the truck is expected to begin in late 2021, and that of the tri-motor variant starts in 2022.
Reservations for the pickup require a refundable deposit of 100 dollars, which analysts estimated would yield about 8 billion dollars from the pre-orders placed so far.
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Amazon is suing the Pentagon over a $10 billion cloud-computing contract awarded to Microsoft.
Amazon said it filed a legal complaint Friday with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to challenge the decision.
The complaint is sealed, but the company said earlier this month there was "unmistakable bias" on the government's part.
Amazon's competitive bid for the "war cloud" project drew criticism from President Donald Trump, who said over the summer that he wanted the Pentagon to take a closer look.
The Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft in late October.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said the procurement was done fairly without outside influence.
The contract, formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, was sought by Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and IBM.