This week, the World Wide Web turns 25. Its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, is taking the opportunity to call for an online Magna Carta.
Berners-Lee is urging countries to generate a bill of digital rights, to define and uphold principles of privacy, free speech, anonymity and copyright on the Web.
"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." (Via The Guardian)
And now could be the best time to push for these freedoms. Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on the anniversary of the web's birthday: five billion more people will come online in the next decade, mostly in places where censorship is still rife.
"How do we make the web truly global; available to all people? How do we secure the web to protect our personal information? What does the web need to be more useful?" (Via webat25.org)
Berners-Lee is pointing people to the Web We Want initiative, which is "calling on people around the world to stand up for their right to a free, open and truly global Internet."
The initiative will define these rights with “legislation,” even if there’s no actual single government to submit it to.
Nonetheless, says GigaOM, "Berners-Lee and the Foundation carry a lot of weight, and these issues are increasingly on the minds of policy-makers around the world — it surely cannot hurt to have a global brainstorm."
For now, The Web We Want is collecting signups from web citizens interested in pushing for Internet freedoms. It says it will pass along more information soon.