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Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who first sketched out the design of the World Wide Web in the 1980s, is celebrating his offspring's 32nd birthday with a call to bring online the one-third of global youth who lack internet access.

Why it matters: Berners-Lee told Axios he expects that somewhere among those young people there's likely to be someone who will create something as world-changing as he did.

  • "Hopefully there will be a cohort of young people who realize that the world does not have to be the way it is," he said — and that they themselves can improve on the problematic global network they've inherited.

In an open letter, Berners-Lee and Rosemary Leith, co-founders of the World Wide Web Foundation, spotlighted the work of nine young people who have used the web to improve the world. They include:

  • Hera Hussain, founder of Chayn, a volunteer community for survivors of gender-based violence.
  • Avi Schiffman, a high-schooler who created a widely used web resource for tracking COVID-19 statistics.
  • Arda Awais and Savena Surana, creators of Identity 2.0, an art project exploring digital identity.
  • Peter Okwoko, founder of Takataka Plastics, a social enterprise which recycles plastic waste into usable products.
  • The Web Foundation is asking people to share names of other young "Web champions."

By the numbers: Berners-Lee and Leith argue that the cost of bringing the "rest of the world" online — estimated at $428 billion over 10 years, or $116 per person for 3.7 billion people — would "deliver incredible returns in the form of economic growth and social empowerment."

  • Berners-Lee told Axios: "There was a time when we needed to do this with electricity, and now we have electricity pretty much anywhere — there's electricity wires all over the place. It is not rocket science. We know how to do it. People deserve to be online -- it's a human rights thing."

Yes, but: The letter also notes that just bringing people online isn't enough when so much of the internet remains hostile ground, and asks, "How many voices of would-be leaders are being silenced by a toxic internet?"

  • One answer to that toxicity, Berners-Lee says, is for young people to experiment with new kinds of social networks designed differently from the ones they find on today's internet.

Go deeper

20 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to hold strategic Iran talks on Tuesday

Jake Sullivan. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty

Top national security officials from the U.S. and Israel will convene virtually on Tuesday for a second round of strategic talks on Iran, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The talks come two days after an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility that experts consider a likely act of Israeli sabotage, and one day before the U.S. resumes indirect nuclear talks in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal — a prospect that has raised anxiety levels in Jerusalem.

Updated 28 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

Police: Officer who shot Daunte Wright accidentally pulled gun instead of taser

The officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man outside Minneapolis Sunday appeared to have inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a taser, police said.

Driving the news: "This appears to me, from what I viewed in the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The warning signs of a longer pandemic — CDC director: Answer to Michigan COVID-19 surge is "to close things down."
  2. Vaccines: Former FDA chief offers reality check on vaccine passports.
  3. Economy: Jobs growth could be curbed by demands for higher wages.
  4. World: Facebook to push notifications about vaccine eligibility to 20 countries outside of the U.S. — Brits flock to pubs for first time in months as U.K. lockdown eases.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.