Tim Berners-Lee: Why We Need a ‘Digital Bill of Rights’
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with “creating” the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 and advisor to the UK government, has called for an internet user’s bill of rights (IUBR) to protect user’s rights and prevent governments and corporate influence.
Berners-Lee originally created the system that allows websites and links to be formed; a back-bone of the modern-day internet.
Fascinating contribution considering in 1969 the Department of Defense (DoD) unveiled their Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) which connected mainframe computers across the globe and gave birth to the internet we know today.
Berners-Lee said this IUBR would be a Magna Carta of sorts to ensure that the internet remain “accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans.”
On the subject of privacy on the internet, Berners-Lee said: “These issues have crept up on us. Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.”
The Web We Want initiative (WWI), championed by Berners-Lee, endeavors to re-invent the internet with the IUBR in order to establish corroboration for national and regional campaigns to bring the internet to all citizens of every nation.
Berners-Lee explained: “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.”
Two years ago, Berners-Lee spoke out against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), asserting that: “The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing . . . You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites … or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.”
Berners-Lee continued: “The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous. It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and [could be] used, for example, to blackmail people in the government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused.”
According to the Pew Research Internet Project (PRIP) 87% of Americans use the internet. Surprisingly, 90% of those polled said the internet makes their life better overall.