Inventor of internet warns of corporate-government takeover and the suppression of free speech
by: J. D. Heyes
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Do governments and corporations threaten the freedom and independence of the Internet? Yes, according to the man who developed it more than two decades ago (spoiler alert: No, it wasn’t former Vice President Al Gore).
In London at an event called “We Want Web,” British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee said both governments and corporations alike wanted to find a way to control the World Wide Web. He is calling for a bill of rights of sorts for the Internet that includes keeping the online world independent while protecting users’ privacy.
“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,” Berners-Lee, 59, said at the recent event.
“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,” he continued. “Suddenly the power to abuse the open Internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies.”
The renowned computer scientist is director of the World Wide Web Consortium, a group that develops Internet guidelines; he has called for a modern Internet version of the Magna Carta, a 13th century English charter that was credited with guaranteeing British subjects basic rights and freedoms.
‘Lots of times it has been abused’