World Wide Web turns 25, inventor Tim Berners-Lee seeks digital bill of rights

6:12 PM, Mar 12, 2014   |    comments
Tim Berners-Lee speaks during an interview at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., June 2008. The scientist who invented the World Wide Web said in a statement Tuesday he believes the Web should be "accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans."(Photo: Mike Groll, AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- Exactly 25 years after writing the first proposal for what would become the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee wants a digital bill of rights to protect Internet users from surveillance.

Berners-Lee, 58 and a British computer scientist, told the Guardian the Web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence. He said new rules, or an online "Magna Carta" is needed to safeguard independence of the medium he invented.

Berners-Lee, said in a statement Tuesday he believes the Web should be "accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans."

He hopes to re-invent the Web through the "Web We Want" initiative, which would create a universal "Internet Users Bill of Rights."

The initiative would build support for national and regional campaigns to create a world where everyone is online and free to participate in the flow of knowledge, ideas, collaboration and creativity over an open Web, according to its website.

"The Web community - and the world at large - are wrestling with tough issues around security, surveillance, privacy, open infrastructure, net neutrality, content protection, and more," he said in the statement.

He told the Guardian that he wants to use the 25th anniversary of the Web to take it back into the hands of the people and define the web they want for the next 25 years.

"The key thing is getting people to fight for the web and to see the harm that a fractured web would bring," Berners-Lee said. "Like any human system, the web needs policing and of course we need national laws, but we must not turn the network into a series of national silos."

Without an open, neutral Internet, we can't have an open government, good democracy, healthcare, connected communities and a diverse culture, he added.

"It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it," he said.

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