In celebration of the internet's 25th birthday, it's inventor wants to create an online Magna Carta
On March 12th, the internet celebrated its 25th Birthday. The World Wide Web was first born with neutrality in mind. The idea behind it, was that all created content was to be treated equally and seen equally. Now as governments and corporations try and take net neutrality away, the internet’s inventor is calling for a global internet bill of rights to keep the Internet unrestricted and open.
Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, warned that threats to net neutrality in the United States and overseas has weakened the once unhindered landscape of the World Wide 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,” he said.
Berners-Lee’s online Magna Carta doesn’t just prevent internet service providers from playing favorites for money, it goes even further. It would also protect people’s privacy by outlawing government and corporate surveillance.
Last Year, Tim Berners-Lee expressed frustration at the “walled off silos” of internet data being collected by social networks. He soon stepped up his criticism after the fallout from Edward Snowden’s revelations, blasting the “insidious” and “chilling” effects of online surveillance.
He believes as I do that “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.”
Telecommunications companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have been fighting net neutrality since the beginning. If they had their way, they would start charging internet companies for faster access and slowing it down for others who can’t afford it.
I’ve been the owner of Quiet Mike for a little over a year now. I can’t imagine the damage of having an unfair playing field would do to our site and those like us. We are all volunteers who write out of passion and a belief in what we do. We can’t afford, nor would we want to pay a billion dollar corporation more for the right to be seen or seen faster.
Without net neutrality, our website could become as useless as having a Facebook page. The winners pre-decided by the size of their bank accounts, while the rest of us are relegated to the bottom, with little hope of growing bigger.
Along with inventing the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation. It was founded in 2009 in order to “tackle the fundamental obstacles to realizing his vision of an open Web available, usable, and valuable for everyone.” Through the foundation, Berners-Lee has launched a campaign called “the Web We Want”. It is a year-long endeavour to get people to demand an internet bill of rights in every country.
Most people of conscious defend the rights they possess in the countries they inhabit with passion and commitment. I would argue the rights we should have online are equally important. The internet has become an extension of ourselves.
Most of us live part of our life online. A growing number of us get our news online, we socialize, do our shopping, and do business. It would be foolish to celebrate our collective rights in the real world and not in cyberspace.
“Sixty-five years ago, this vision was laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, we can’t achieve it without an open, universal Web. That’s why the Web We Want campaign is demanding an internet bill of rights for every country.” – From the Web We Want.