The story of the Web in Quebec City

Thirty years ago, a man named Tim Berners-Lee revolutionized the world by offering “a decentralized information management system” that will become the Web. Today, Le Soleil invites you to go back in time to tell the story of the Web in Quebec City.

C ‘is a local CERN calculations Central, CERN, near Geneva, the Web was born. In fact, Tim Berners-Lee wanted to allow scientists around the world to exchange their research remotely.

A few years later and thousands of kilometers away, the Web is gradually appearing in the Quebec landscape. Moreover, very humbly, Le Soleil was one of the forerunners in the field by providing a website in 1996. It is also the first Quebec media to do so.

At the forefront of this revolution, Stéphane-Billy Gousse who participated in the launch of the platform of the Sun. At the time, the latter is an external consultant involved in the Macintosh Club of Quebec.

The Macintosh Club was just one of the first to use the Web on a regular and technical basis. “Everything was to be done,” he smirked.

Mr. Gousse also took part in setting up numerous departmental sites and training communication teams for the use of this tool.

“The departments, when they were each offered their website, it was funny mautadit, because overnight, the communication departments were left with tools they did not know, they do not did not know how to use, “he laughs. He attributes some of the spark to the government’s arrival online. It “was a pretty clear message that it was a place to be and became a serious tool,” adding that Quebec was far from being late for its time.

A lifestyle

The involvement of Bernard Landry and the former mayor of Quebec Jean-Paul L’Allier is noteworthy, according to Stéphane-Billy Gousse, particularly in the development of the Saint-Roch district became a hub of the digital industry. “[Landry] really understood where it was going.”

The Prime Minister had set up tax credits for businesses that would move into the neighborhood. With these measures, “he created a living environment. There are people who have started to settle there, to work, to invest, “said the former MP for Taschereau Agnès Maltais, shortly after the death of Mr. Landry.

The explosion of the Web has been done gradually and with small initiatives that have shown the full potential of this platform. “There’s an announcement that says the future is coming, but you do not realize it, and I think it’s a little bit the same thing with the Internet. People started to have e-mail addresses, then started wanting access to their mailbox, so they bought modems and then they could use their browser, “he recalls.

On the corporate side, they saw the Web as another way to communicate with their customers, believes Mr. Gousse, although consumers were few to be connected. The use was based on a sweet mix of communication and promotion.

There was “a lot of evangelism to do,” he recalls, since people tended to build a Web site only to say they were on the Web, but not necessarily worrying about it. maintenance of the platform, or even the bidirectional link with site visitors.

The present is the past

Today, more than 4.2 billion people worldwide are online and visit more than 1.6 billion sites. It is estimated that about 73,000 per second the number of searches on Google.

With technological advances in the field of artificial intelligence, Stéphane-Billy Gousse has no illusions: the present is quickly becoming a thing of the past. “It’s an evolution and when you’re in it, innovations happen, you use them, you benefit, you benefit others. […] So it’s all small innovations that make today we are made with that will be laughable in 10 years.


In an open letter published on the World Wide Web Foundation website, the founder of the Web Tim Berners-Lee believes that it has become “a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a store, a school.”

He adds that each new feature proposed further widens the gap between those who are on the Web and those who are not there. “It is therefore all the more imperative to make the Web accessible to everyone,” he writes.

“The Web has created opportunities, given a voice to marginalized groups and simplified our daily lives,” he continues in his four-language letter.

The bad

Mr. Berners-Lee regrets, however, the misuse of the tool that was introduced 30 years ago, pointing to fraudsters, “those who spread hatred and facilitate the perpetration of all kinds of crimes. ”

Judging “defeatist” believing that the Web can not be improved in the coming decades, the 63-year-old Englishman identifies three sources of system malfunction.

First, deliberate and malicious intentions “impossible to eradicate completely”, but can be limited by code and laws. It then aims “a system design that creates perverse incentives in which the value of users is sacrificed”, including misinformation. According to him, this class “forces us to rethink the systems so as to modify the incentives”. Finally, the quality of online speech “requires research to understand existing systems and to model new possible systems, or modify those we already have”.

The man emphasizes that governments must translate laws and regulations into the digital age, that businesses ensure that the pursuit of profit is not at the expense of human rights and that citizens hold these two groups responsible for their commitments.

“The Web is everyone’s, and we collectively hold the power to change it. It will not be easy. But by dreaming a little and working a lot, we can create the Web we want. ” Sébastien St-Onge


Stéphane-Billy Gousse, who saw the birth and development of the Web closely, sees many good things about this platform that has evolved enormously in its history.

First, he notes the rapprochement of people, the elimination of borders. He gives as an example the case of his 13-year-old daughter. It contributes to forums that deal with Korean music, K-pop.

“When my daughter does an article, in 24 hours, there are 5000 people who read it with 200-300 comments. […] She is 13 years old, she publishes in a forum where there are 1.5 million subscribers and receives 5000 likes, “he says in a tone mixing astonishment and wonder.

He nuances, however, “it brings the distance closer, but sometimes it distances the near”, considering that it can happen to be less in contact with people closer.

The “great opportunities and beautiful avenues” that the Web offers are some of the other good things about the Internet tool.

The bad

As Tim Berners-Lee mentioned in his open letter, Stéphane-Billy Gousse regrets that some people use the Web for the wrong reasons, including fraud and phishing. “I can not believe that phishing is still working,” he said dejectedly.

Who has not already been arrested by a pseudo prince of a foreign kingdom wishing to deposit a sum of Pharaonic money in our bank account. Or who has not already received an email requesting to transmit his banking information to unlock his account which is still accessible.

The sale of illicit products, especially on the dark Web, is also a negative element raised by Mr. Gousse.

He adds, like the founder of the World Wide Web, that “the legislature is lagging behind technology”, while there is still a lot of uncertainty about the use of personal data. Sébastien St-Onge

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