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Tim Berners-Lee calls for ‘Magna Carta’ to ensure users’ privacy and internet freedom

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Freedom of Internet is under threat by big corporations and governments who are trying to capture the entire web in their hands, warns World Wide Web investor Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The London-based computer scientist, who invented the web 25 years ago, on Saturday at the Web We Want festival at London’s Southbank Centre, called out for a bill of rights that would guarantee internet independence and users’ privacy.

Berners-Lee said that if a company can control a user’s access to the Internet like if they can control which websites to visit, then the company has a tremendous control over the user’s life. He said, for instance, if a Government can block users going to the opposition’s political pages, then they can give the users 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,” he added.

Concerns over users’ internet privacy and freedom has increased manifolds in the wake of the revelations by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden related to surveillance programs on users’ online activities.

Berners-lee has called out for an internet version of the “Magna Carta,” a 13th century English charter that safeguarded basic freedoms and rights of the people.

“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,” he said, stressing that Internet to be a “neutral medium,” should reflect all of humanity including “some ghastly stuff.”

Berners-Lee added that child pornography, fraud and other illegal things had remained to be illegal before the web as well as remain illegal after the web.