The web at 25 and a digital bill of rights

By Nick Holmes on March 14, 2014
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Filed under Information rights, Internet law, Society

Much has been made about the fact that the web is 25 years old this month. Certainly, it was 25 years ago that Tim Berners Lee, working at CERN, “invented” the web. But the much more significant date was April 1993 when he (and CERN) gifted the web to us. It is unthinkable that the web would have developed as rapidly, with all its attendant benefits, had it been a proprietary system.

Tim BL has always stressed the importance of keeping the web open. Most recently in a birthday speech:

Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?

Naturally, you’ll want to do some reading before you frame your reply. You could start with the Grauniad and then of course, head over to Wikipedia for the background.

And also maybe read this from some chap I’ve never previously heard of over at betanews, which is an organisation I’ve never previously heard of, who says it quite well that A digital bill of rights is essential to the future of democracy. You are free to agree, or not.

Isn’t the web wonderful!

PS. For the true web story read CERN’s Birth of the web. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has a more extensive Web History Timeline.

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