March 12, 2014 was an important milestone in the history of the Internet, as it marked what is widely being called the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. On March 12, 1989 computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee filed a proposal for a computer information management system. Berners-Lee’s system created the foundation for the network-based exchange of digital information we now know as the World Wide Web.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Berners-Lee offered his take on what the World Wide Web has become, and where it might be headed. He expressed concern about government and corporate influence over the Internet, saying that it contradicts the fundamental principles on which it was built.
In fact, Berners-Lee called on World Wide Web users from around the globe to come together to create what he called an online “Magna Carta.” He believes that a kind of Internet Bill of Rights is necessary to secure the future of the Internet as a free, neutral, independent forum for the sharing and expression of ideas and information.
App developers the world over were left to chew on two particularly provocative statements made by Berners-Lee. In the first, he stated that “unless we have an open, neutral Internet we can rely on without worrying what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture.”
In the second, Berners-Lee contended that he thinks it’s necessary to “revisit a lot of legal structure, copyright law…[n]one of [it] has been set up to preserve the day to day discourse between individuals and the day to day democracy we need to run the country.”
As San Francisco app developers and software professionals around the world mull over the future of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee’s statements gave the entire tech industry pause to consider its current state of evolution. Will the Internet of the future revert to the kind of neutral, open and free space it was intended to be, or will government and corporate control of it only increase in the coming years?Tags: government eavedropping, information systems management, internet inventor, nsa spying, tech industry, the guardian, tim berners-lee, world wide web