Founder of the world wide web launches cam­paign to save the mod­ern in­ter­net

Tim Bern­ers-Lee wants a “Magna Carta for the web”.

APC Australia - - Tech Notes - Sharmishta Sarkar

Tim Bern­ers-Lee has watched his cre­ation be­come an abu­sive plat­form with the spread of fake news, hate speech and po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion. Now he’s launched a global cam­paign to save the in­ter­net. At the open­ing of the Web Sum­mit in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, re­cently, Bern­ers-Lee has asked gov­ern­ments, tech com­pa­nies and the pub­lic to sign a “con­tract for the web” to en­sure peo­ple’s rights and free­doms are pro­tected on­line. The con­tract, pub­lished on the World Wide Web Foun­da­tion web­site, has al­ready been signed by more than 50 or­gan­i­sa­tions and calls for im­me­di­ate ac­tion.

Dubbed the “Magna Carta for the web”, the doc­u­ment re­quires gov­ern­ments to en­sure its cit­i­zens have ac­cess to the in­ter­net at all times “freely, safely and with­out fear”. It also asks tech com­pa­nies to make the in­ter­net af­ford­able to ev­ery­one, while re­spect­ing con­sumer pri­vacy and per­sonal data. The con­tract also calls for com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing new tech­nolo­gies to en­sure the in­ter­net is “a pub­lic good that puts peo­ple first”.

Bern­ers-Lee ad­mits that it will be hard to quan­tify the suc­cess of this cam­paign, but is con­fi­dent it will lead to con­ver­sa­tions be­tween gov­ern­ments and firms, and “put the power back in the hands of the peo­ple”.

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