Sir Tim Berners-Lee named recipient of the ACM A.M. Turing Award

4 April 2017 | Archive

ACM turing award logopicture of Tim Berners-LeeToday, Tuesday 4 April, the ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, named Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, as the recipient of the 2016 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

The Turing award is recognized as the highest distinction in Computer Science and is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing.” Sir Tim is being given this award for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. The Web is considered one of the most influential computing innovations in history.

Sir Tim’s development and guardianship of the building blocks of the Web, the standards upon which it is built upon, continues at W3C. Jeff Jaffe, CEO of W3C, stated: “The Web has had an immense impact on the world; transforming every part of society: how we communicate, how we learn, how we acquire information, and how we engage in commerce. Tim’s soaring vision of what was possible in the world is anchored on breakthrough contributions to computing – which is what is recognized by the Turing Award.”

For more information on the award, Sir Tim, and the W3C, see the W3C press release.

Call for Review: XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 3.0 Proposed Recommendation Published

18 April 2017 | Archive

The XSLT Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation of XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 3.0. This specification defines the syntax and semantics of XSLT 3.0, a language designed primarily for transforming XML documents into other XML documents. XSLT 3.0 is a revised version of the XSLT 2.0 Recommendation published on 23 January 2007. The primary purpose of the changes in this version of the language is to enable transformations to be performed in streaming mode, where neither the source document nor the result document is ever held in memory in its entirety. Another important aim is to improve the modularity of large stylesheets, allowing stylesheets to be developed from independently-developed components with a high level of software engineering robustness. Comments are welcome through 19 May.

QB4ST: RDF Data Cube extensions for spatio-temporal components Note Published

18 April 2017 | Archive

The Spatial Data on the Web Working Group has published a Group Note of QB4ST: RDF Data Cube extensions for spatio-temporal components. This document describes an extension to the existing RDF Data Cube ontology to support specification of key metadata required to interpret spatio-temporal data. The RDF Data Cube defines CodedProperties, which relate to a reference system based on a list of terms. QB4ST provides generalized support for numeric and other ordered references systems, particularly Spatial Reference Systems and Temporal Reference Systems.

W3C Invites Implementations of Encoding

14 April 2017 | Archive

The Internationalization Working Group invites implementation of the Candidate Recommendation of Encoding. The UTF-8 encoding is the most appropriate encoding for interchange of Unicode, the universal coded character set. Therefore for new protocols and formats, as well as existing formats deployed in new contexts, this specification requires (and defines) the UTF-8 encoding.

First Public Working Draft: CSS Fill and Stroke Module Level 3

14 April 2017 | Archive

The Cascading Style Sheets Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of CSS Fill and Stroke Module Level 3. This specification describes how text and SVG graphical elements are filled and stroked by defining a number of properties that control the appearance and shape of an element’s fill and stroke. The module contains the features of CSS relating to filling and stroking text and SVG shapes.

W3C Invites Implementations of ActivityPub

14 April 2017 | Archive

The Social Web Working Group invites implementation of the Candidate Recommendation of ActivityPub. The ActivityPub protocol is a decentralized social networking protocol based upon the ActivityStreams 2.0 data format. It provides a client to server API for creating, updating and deleting content, as well as a federated server to server API for delivering notifications and subscribing to content.

W3C responds to UNESCO concerns about Encrypted Media Extensions

6 April 2017 | Archive

screenshot of title and logos for sdbpUNESCO recently published a letter and an article about Encrypted Media Extensions. Since we didn’t have an opportunity to set the record straight with them, we are responding here.

The spirit of the letter is anchored in UNESCO’s values and the concept of Internet Universality. We agree on the concept of Internet Universality. We even believe that those who are trying to restrict movies from the Internet are violating the concept of universality by preventing certain content from being on the Web.

We note that EME does in fact provide improvements in privacy, security and accessibility over the alternatives.

  • The alternative to EME allowing interaction with copyrighted content in Web browser plugins is abandoning the Web. Without in-browser decryption ability, content providers would use their own native application, which will have much more leeway to spy on the user, and possibly infect their machine.
  • With EME, the browser can protect the user from the worst effects of the DRM system, by putting it in a processing “sandbox”, such that access to network, user’s data or machine is only permitted as allowed by the sandbox, thus offering protection against things like the root kit problems and privacy breaches we have had in the past.
  • Regarding accessibility, analysis and testing confirmed that the specification’s approach to captions, transcripts and audio description does not block access to this accessibility information. Moreover, since EME recommends that accessibility information is transmitted without any encryption, it is particularly suited (EME and accessibility) for accessible and legal fair use where accessibility is concerned – including accessibility adaptations to the video stream itself.

When UNESCO suggests that laws such as DMCA are against UN principles, we note that their colleagues at WIPO have been a motivating force behind such laws. We would urge UNESCO to use its own weight to insist that Member States’ laws on the Internet are always reasonable and proportionate and respectful of human rights. We are a technical standards organization but litigating the laws of a single country or many nations (like the WIPO treaty) is the role of legal advocates such as the EFF or UNESCO.

EFF has, as a member of the Consortium, initiated a move to get the members of the working group developing EME to agree to a covenant that they would not sue under the DMCA, but the proposal was rejected by the Members. Following that, the Consortium is considering a strawman broader Best Practices document W3C Security Disclosures and Privacy Best Practices to protect Security researchers and others from the overreach of the law. We invite the public, experts, W3C Members and interested parties to advocate and get consensus on any changes needed to better help support researchers in security and privacy.

We intend to continue to address the public discourse with an update to our March 2016 Information about W3C and Encrypted Media Extensions.

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