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Web founder calls for internet bill of rights

13 March 2014, 14:07

London - A bill of rights should be created to govern the internet in the wake of revelations about the depth of government surveillance, the inventor of the World Wide Web said on Wednesday.

Tim Berners-Lee made the proposal as part of the "web we want" campaign for an open internet, exactly 25 years after he first presented a paper with plans for the web.

"We need a global constitution - a bill of rights," he told the Guardian.

"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.

"It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it."

The campaign calls on internet users around the world to draft an "Internet Users Bill of Rights for your country, for your region or for all".

Berners-Lee has constantly campaigned for fewer controls on the web, and has praised former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden after he revealed details of how the US government collects masses of online data.

Berners-Lee warned that people's rights were "being infringed more and more on every side" and that internet users were becoming complacent about their loss of freedoms.

"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," he said.

Berners-Lee conceived the web almost 25 years ago in his spare time at Geneva-based Cern, Europe's top particle physics lab.


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