Tim Berners-Lee calls for internet bill of rights for greater privacy

Web inventor says world needs an online ‘Magna Carta’

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Tim Berners-Lee calls for internet bill of rights for greater privacy Berners-Lee: "I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship." (Getty Images)
By  Helen Gaskell Published  September 28, 2014

The inventor of the World Wide Web has warned that the freedom of the internet is under threat by governments and corporations interested in controlling the web, the Guardian reported.

Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who invented the web 25 years ago, yesterday called for a bill of rights that would guarantee the independence of the internet and ensure users' privacy.

"If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life," Berners-Lee said at the Web We Want festival, on the future of the internet in London.

"If a government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power." Suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies."

Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium, called for an internet version of the Magna Carta, the 13th century English charter credited with guaranteeing basic rights and freedoms.

 "There have been lots of times that it has been abused, so now the Magna Carta is about saying...I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship," Berners-Lee said.

He added that in order to be a "neutral medium", the internet had to reflect all of humanity, including "some ghastly stuff".

"Now some things are of course just illegal, child pornography, fraud, telling someone how to rob a bank, that's illegal before the web and it's illegal after the web," Berners-Lee added.

 

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