Tim Berners-Lee—the British inventor who filed a proposal for what was to become the World Wide Web exactly twenty-five years ago today—has called for a digital bill of rights to protect Internet users from surveillance.
Speaking with the Guardian, the computer scientist said the world needs an online equivalent to the “Magna Carta”—the 13th-century British charter of rights—to protect and enshrine the Web. “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 naïve to think can have that, but it is naïve to think we can just sit back and get it.”
In a statement published on Wednesday Berners-Lee said we must “tackle some key challenges” facing the platform, including the lack of access to the internet among nearly two-thirds of the planet, and uncertainty on who has the right to collect and use personal data. The inventor’s plan for a digital bill of rights is part of an initiative called “The Web We Want”, a campaign calling on people to devise an online bill of rights for each country.