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World needs an 'internet Magna Carta'
October 1, 2014, 1:51 pm

The world needs a bill of rights for the internet to stop governments and big businesses from abusing their power, censoring certain information and controlling the web, warns Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago.

Speaking at an event in London recently the scientist said that a 21st century Magna Carta should set out our right to a free and open internet. "If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life," he told the Web We Want festival.

"If a government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power. Suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies."

Berners-Lee currently sits as director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which steers development of the web. He is also a vocal critic of attempts to infringe on the impartiality and neutrality of the web and argues that it must retain its democratic nature. “There have been lots of times that it has been abused, so now the Magna Carta is about saying... I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship," said Berners-Lee.

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