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Computer Used to Create Internet on Display for Internet's 25th Anniversary

By: RTV/CBS
By: RTV/CBS

It's rather dusty and looks old-fashioned and clunky, but this particular computer that on Wednesday (March 12) will go on display at London's Science Museum, is very special and 25 years ago changed the way we live.

It is the computer used by Tim Berners-Lee to invent the World Wide Web.

On March 12, 1989 the British scientist submitted his first proposal for the web at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The NeXT computer has a handwritten sticker on the side of the box reading "This machine is a server - do not power down".

It has been loaned to the Science Museum for a few years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the web's invention.
British businesswoman, co-founder of lastminute.com and digital advisor to the government, Martha Fox-Lane helped unveil Berners-Lee's computer.

"I believe that the next 25 years is going to be exciting and I often wish that I'd been born a bit later. I think we will look back on this time as the start of an adventure and we have no idea how it will play out, but I also believe we shouldn't sleepwalk into it."

She warned that issues of privacy, freedom of speech and free access to the web must be tackled for the world to get the most out of what the web can give to society.

Chair of the Web Foundation set up by Berners-Lee, Rick Haythornthwaite said even his friend Tim could not have predicted how radically his invention has changed the world.

"If you take stock, as I hope everyone does today you realize what an extraordinary force for good it has been, the extent to which it has changed the world, allowed billions of people to create, communicate collaborate, change economies, spread democracy, I don't think even Tim thought as he sat at that computer 25 years ago that the impact could have been so profound," he said.

He outlined what he believes are the challenges ahead for the next 25 years.

"How do we bring the three out five people around the globe that are not yet connected to the web into communication with it? How do we decide who can access our personal data and use it for what use and around what rules? How do we create a high performing open architecture that allows the web to be used on any device and any system rather than fall back into proprietary systems?"

"There are a lot of challenges facing the web today and really this is the moment that we have got to remember what it was that bought us here and defend those principles vehemently," he said.

Berners-Lee is currently director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which oversees the web's continued development. In 2009 in he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work.


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