World wide web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned of a “digital dystopia” as he launches a global action plan aimed at tackling misuse of the web.
Amid fears of ever-increasing online threats, such as election interference, harassment, invasion of privacy and the spread of disinformation, the British computer scientist is unveiling a string of standards in Berlin later.
The so-called Contract for the Web calls on governments, companies and the public to ensure the web is a safe, free and open platform for everyone.
Although non-binding, the charter has been backed by hundreds of organisations, including Google and Facebook.
“The power of the web to transform people’s lives, enrich society and reduce inequality is one of the defining opportunities of our time,” Sir Tim said.
“But if we don’t act now, and act together, to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering that potential.”
He added: “The Contract for the Web gives us a roadmap to build a better web. But it will not happen unless we all commit to the challenge.
“Governments need to strengthen laws and regulations for the digital age. Companies must do more to ensure pursuit of profit is not at the expense of human rights and democracy.
“And citizens must hold those in power accountable, demand their digital rights be respected and help foster healthy conversation online. It’s up to all of us to fight for the web we want.”
The contract tells governments to ensure everyone can connect to the internet, that access is not deliberately denied and to respect and protect people’s fundamental online privacy and data rights.
Companies are told they should make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone, respect and protect people’s privacy and personal data, as well as develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst.
Black teen told to cut dreadlocks or face graduation ban from Texas school | US News
A black teenager has said he has been suspended from high school and told he can’t attend his graduation ceremony unless he cuts his dreadlocks.
DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, near Houston, Texas, said he has worn dreadlocks for years and always followed the school’s dress code by tying them up.
The 18-year-old told NBC affiliate KPRC his father is from Trinidad and many men in his family wear their hair in this style.
He said his hair had been in compliance with school district rules until recently, when he faced in-school suspension after he refused to cut it.
“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture,” he told the station. “So, I mean I really embrace that.”
His mother, Sandy Arnold, said after the Christmas holiday, three months before graduation, the Barbers Hill Independent School District changed its dress code on hair.
Now the rules stipulate that for male students “hair must be clean and well groomed” and not extend below the eyebrows, the ear lobes or the top of a T-shirt collar – including when let down.
“They say that even though my hair is up and I follow all of the regulations, that if it was down, it would be out of dress code,” DeAndre Arnold told KPRC.
“Not that I’m out of dress code, but if I was to take it down, I would be out of dress code, which doesn’t make any sense. I don’t take it down at school.”
Sandy Arnold said that, as a result of the rule change, her son is not allowed in school and can’t attend graduation until he complies with the dress code. When asked if she would cut his hair, she responded, “Absolutely not.”
“This is his belief,” she said. “This is a part of who he is. This is his culture. This is what we believe.”
In a statement on Twitter, the Barbers Hill Independent School District said that it does allow dreadlocks.
It added: “However we DO have a community supported hair length policy & have had for decades.
“BH is a state leader with high expectations in ALL areas!”
Coronavirus: China faces economic hit from deadly outbreak | Business News
Beijing’s Forbidden City, part of the Great Wall and Shanghai Disneyland are among the attractions to close as China moves to contain a deadly virus that threatens to take an economic as well as a human toll.
The country has introduced travel restrictions affecting more than 30 million people across 10 of its cities in Hubei province, including Wuhan, the epicentre of the infection.
So far 26 people have died in China, with more than 800 infected.
In response to the crisis, McDonald’s has temporarily shut outlets in five cities following the coronavirus outbreak, while hotels and airlines are offering refunds to people travelling to the country.
The owner of Uniqlo has closed 17 of its shops in Wuhan, with the Swedish flat-pack giant Ikea following suit with its superstore at the request of authorities.
Film premieres have also been postponed.
With parts of the country in virtual lockdown at the start of the usually busy week-long holiday to mark the Lunar New Year, the virus is expected to damage China’s growth after months of economic worries over trade tensions with the US.
Economists estimate China’s GDP for the first quarter could be hit by about one percentage point, with tourism, retail and hospitality all set to take an impact.
Shares in luxury goods firms have suffered from the anticipated drop in demand from China, and French spirits group Remy Cointreau said it was “clearly concerned” about the potential impact.
However, global stock markets, including London’s top-flight FTSE 100, rose after the outbreak was not declared a global emergency.
Gareth Leather from the research consultancy Capital Economics told Sky News the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which also began in China and killed nearly 800 people, may give an indication on the likely impact of the latest virus.
Speaking to the Ian King Live programme, he said: “If you look at 2003, the sectors of the economy in China that were hardest hit and also across the rest of Asia were things such as tourism, retail sales, restaurants.
“People were afraid to go out shopping, go out to the movies… and so all those sectors plummeted.
“But as soon as SARS stopped and was brought under control they rebounded again quite strongly.
“The chances are if its a similar kind of outbreak you will get a short, sharp downturn and then rebounding pretty quickly.”
But given it coinciding with celebrations to mark the Year of the Rat, he added: “In terms of the timing it couldn’t really be worse.”
Mr Leather also warned it was not just China which would take an economic hit, with Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia all set to feel the impact from the drop in tourism.
Meanwhile, Gloria Guevara, president of the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said transparent communication was vital to “contain panic and mitigate negative economic losses”.
The group had estimated the previous SARS outbreak of 2003 cost the global travel and tourism sector up to £38bn.
Ms Guevara said: “The most effective management of a crisis requires rapid activation of effective emergency plans, and we can see that in the early days of this outbreak, the Chinese government has acted rapidly.
“However, quick, accurate and transparent communication is also crucial in order to contain panic and mitigate negative economic losses. Containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself.”
Coco Gauff, 15, knocks out Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka | World News
American teenager Coco Gauff has produced a performance for the ages to knock out defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
The 15-year-old has already made headlines around the world but none of her achievements so far could compare to this as she took apart one of the best players in the world at the Rod Laver Arena.
Gauff has now reached the fourth round at two grand slams as she comfortably defeated the player who lifted the trophy here 12 months ago.
The teenager kept her head impressively while Osaka lost hers, tumbling out of the tournament 6-3 6-4 in a flurry of errors.
Gauff was stunned by her achievement, saying: “Two years ago I lost first round in juniors, and now I’m here. This is crazy.
“I was just telling myself one point at a time and keep fighting because you never know what happens on this court.
“I’m on Rod Laver Arena, I can’t believe this.”
Gauff said she had been too shy to speak to Laver when she passed him in the corridor but hoped to set up a meeting.
Laver was quick to respond on Twitter, saying: “Hello CocoGauff – congratulations on your incredible victory tonight. I would love to meet you too.”
“I love her, but I don’t like this feeling of losing to her,” said 22-year-old Osaka, who had easily beaten Gauff at the US Open last summer.
“I think just losing to her, that hurts more than the defending champion thing. I think it’s because I have an age problem. I don’t like losing to people that are younger than me. I took this very personally.”
In the next round, the teenager will face another young American, 21-year-old 14th seed Sofia Kenin, who battled past Zhang Shuai 7-5 7-6 (7).
Gauff shocked tennis fans when she beat Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon last year. She beat her again in the first round in Melbourne on Monday.
Gauff’s victory on Friday came several hours after title favourite Serena Williams had been stunned by a player who won just 15 points against her in their last meeting at the US Open.
China’s Wang Qiang had vowed to improve after that match and she certainly kept her promise, going toe to toe with Williams and not losing her cool when the 23-time grand-slam champion fought back.
The 38-year-old’s defeat meant the wait to equal Margaret Court’s record went on, but Williams added: “I definitely do believe [I can do it] or I wouldn’t be on tour.”
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