Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for 'Magna Carta' bill of rights for world wide web

Filed Under: Featured, Privacy

Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Image courtesy of Shutterstock/drsergSir Tim Berners-Lee has called for a 'Magna Carta' for the world wide web to protect its users across the globe.

The creator of the web also believes controls need to be put into place to ensure it remains independent and equally accessible to all.

Sir Tim's comments come on what is the 25th anniversary of his first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web.

If you're pretty sure you remember reading about a 20th anniversary within the last year, well, you'd be right.

Berners-Lee's initial abstract proposal for what would become the web was created on 12 March 1989. It wasn't until April 1993 that CERN, where Berners-Lee was contracting, served the first web page.

His 'Magna Carta' proposal is to form part of an initiative called Web We Want which is calling on people to "stand up for their right to a free, open and truly global internet".

Speaking to the Guardian, Berners-Lee said:

Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what's happening at the back door, we can't have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture. It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.

Berners-Lee has been an outspoken critic of government surveillance following leaks by ex-US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, saying that that such activity could undermine the democratic nature of the web.

He told the BBC that the use of an open and free internet in the future is akin to the importance of human rights and made a call for people to protest against surveillance, saying that the internet should be a neutral medium that can be enjoyed without the feeling that "somebody's looking over our shoulder."

Image of Sir Tim Berners-Lee courtesy of drserg /

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2 Responses to Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for 'Magna Carta' bill of rights for world wide web

  1. Ron JP · 574 days ago

    It's a fine balance addressing the vast criminal and terrorist elements using the WEB to create havoc in peoples and countries lives. I would rather have my government scouring the WEB for these foes, than say North Korea but until the world is safe from criminals and terrorists we won't be save from our own governments either.

  2. Joe Easterling · 574 days ago

    Is it possible to have an open and neutral internet that is safe for the average user? To have it where the folks that are creating the phishing emails and putting out the virus's can be tracked down and dealt with. Email address providers (yahoo, gmail, Hotmail...) need to do more to monitor how their email addresses are being used. Have websites rounded up and put in domains the match the type of site they are. Porn sites should have their own domain. Probably wishful thinking but it would be nice.

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About the author

Lee Munson is the founder of Security FAQs, a social media manager with BH Consulting and a blogger with a huge passion for information security.