Inventor of World Wide Web warns of threat to internet

September 28, 2014
British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the World Wide Web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France

The British inventor of the World Wide Web warned on Saturday that the freedom of the internet is under threat by governments and corporations interested in controlling the web.

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist who invented the 25 years ago, 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 London "Web We Want" festival on the future of the internet.

"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 has become so tempting both for government and big companies."

Berners-Lee, 59, is director of the World Wide Web Consortium, a body which develops guidelines for the development of the internet.

He called for an internet version of the "Magna Carta", the 13th century English charter credited with guaranteeing basic rights and freedoms.

Concerns over privacy and freedom on the internet have increased in the wake of the revelation of mass government monitoring of online activity following leaks by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

A ruling by the European Union to allow individuals to ask search engines such as Google to remove links to information about them, called the "right to be forgotten", has also raised concerns over the potential for censorship.

"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.

The scientist added that in order to be a "neutral medium", the 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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1.7 / 5 (9) Sep 28, 2014
if there were no bloody Muslims wanting to blow themselves and others up, there would be no need to have Internet surveillance.

As far as corporations go, I have no adverts and use Duck Duck Go.
3.5 / 5 (6) Sep 28, 2014
@BSD, your point was succinct. Unfortunately you need to back up the statement a little more. The internet SHOULD BE FREE. However I do agree that there should be surveillance. why can't there be both????? Look if the web is used by Pedo's and Terrorists then I support those bastards being watched and taken down. BUT at the same time, all information should be free. It's not the information that is the problem, but what people do with it. So it's the people that need hunting down. So allow complete freedom, but WATCH!!!! The majority of people surely don't have a problem with this. Even those discussing minor issues such as how do I grow a marijuana plant, shouldn't have a problem with this. I agree there needs to be a Magna Carta BUT combined with a set off ethics. The government should have the right to monitor ANY communication channel they feel is necessary, however they DO NOT have the right to censor.

Anyway, that's my starting OPINION. So advance my thoughts please!!!
5 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2014
However I do agree that there should be surveillance. why can't there be both?

Because there's two ways of censorship: one is to eliminate the message, and the other is to eliminate the messenger.

Surveillance enables governments to quiet people who disagree with the government. The threat of repercussions keeps whistleblowers silent, because most people can't just flee abroad like Snowden did.

5 / 5 (1) Sep 30, 2014
Democracy will eventually fall back to rely on the tiny minority of people who won't kowtow to the Powers that be, whether the NSA, PRC, KGB, or Comcast.

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