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Tim Berners-Lee Wants Internet Magna Carta to Guarantee Netizens' Privacy

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Tim Berners-Lee.

At a London festival on the future of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee said a "Magna Carta for the Web" is needed to guarantee netizens' privacy and freedom from governments and corporations.

Credit: Silvio Tanaka

Tim Berners-Lee is using the 25th anniversary of his invention of the World Wide Web to push for an Internet bill of rights, which he characterizes as a "Magna Carta for the Web."

Berners-Lee first proposed the idea in a TED Talk earlier this year, but he renewed his call at the recent "Web We Want" event in London.

Berners-Lee says he originally conceived of an Internet Magna Carta as a way to protect the open Internet and its users' rights from governments such as China that want to circumscribe their citizens' access to the Internet. However, he says he now views an Internet Magna Carta as being just as important to help keep large companies in check. "You shouldn't trust your government, but you shouldn't trust your companies either," Berners-Lee cautions. "We have to have checks and balances for them all."

Berners-Lee emphasizes such a document would not guarantee unlimited freedom, but would set widely agreed-upon standards for openness and privacy. However, it is not clear how and by whom such a document would be drafted and through what entity it would gain legal force.

From Network World
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