Founder of The World Wide Web Foundation, and internet originator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has announced a new campaign and a contract dubbed a "Magna Carta for the web". Many governments use it as a vehicle for surveillance and censorship, while companies base their business models on gathering as much personal data as possible.Berners-Lee said web users are passive consumers who gather in like-minded communities rather than using their creative energy to reach out to new groups. Those of us who are online are seeing our rights and freedoms threatened.
"We need to make sure that people who are connected to the web can create the world they want and use it to correct the problems that exist", he said, calling the internet "more peaceful and more constructive".
So that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can participate actively online. This contract hopes to protect people's rights on the internet.
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You only have to look at the control that certain digital companies exert over the Web and the influence that data manipulation has had on democracies to understand why... They thought 'there'll be good and bad, that is humanity, but if you connect humanity with technology, great things will happen. Each participant has the responsibility of creating content that is "rich and relevant". Individuals are encouraged to "respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome online". It's important to fight for an internet that is "a global public resource for people everywhere".
These firms have become quasi-monopolies in their respective areas, and an economic power that translates into a strong political power, far short of the ideals which animated the early days of the internet: the founders imagined it to be rather a large space without any intermediary, where everyone could express themselves and share information freely.
"Over 1.2 billion internet users live in countries where net neutrality is not protected, and more than 1.5 billion people live in countries with no comprehensive law on personal data protection, leaving them particularly vulnerable to increasingly common incidents involving breaches of personal data".
Back in 1989, when the Web was first developed, Berners-Lee saw it as a pioneer for new horizons.
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The Contract for the Web isn't about (the concentration of power in big tech companies).
"The genie may seem to have come out of the bottle, but the internet has surprised us many times", he added.
However, as the Web approaches nearly 50% of the world's population as users, Berners-Lee is not convinced that these principles are being upheld or that his original ideals for the Web are being protected.
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