Tim Berners-Lee suggests digital magma carta (and once again fuels my own thinking;)

I just ran across this really important contribution by Tim Berners-Lee today. I penned a very much related piece for  TheGuardian blog in October last year: “Why advertisers should back a global Digital Bill of Rights” and it fits hand in glove with Tim’s brilliant as usual comments in TheGuardian today, albeit coming from a slightly different angle. Thanks to Jemima Kiss for presenting this great piece! This is what I said back then:

Enter the Digital Bill of Rights
As a first step I think advertisers should get behind a global “Digital Bill of Rights” (see what Mashable has already produced here), a bill which must clearly be user-centric not provider centric, and which needs to lay down the law on who can mine, refine and sell what data, when and how, globally. For example, such a bill could regulate what data can be captured on mobile devices and apps, under which exact circumstances, and how long it would be available to whom. It could also specify what data-miners would need to offer in return for being being “paid with data”.

and this is what TIm said today:

“Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: “We need a global constitution – a bill of rights.” Berners-Lee’s Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called “the web we want”, which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations….”

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. It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it These issues have crept up on us,” Berners-Lee said. “Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.

This is probably the most crucial quote, very much reflecting my own position on the topic of internet governance:

The removal of the explicit link to the US department of commerce is long overdue. The US can’t have a global place in the running of something which is so non-national. There is huge momentum towards that uncoupling but it is right that we keep a multi-stakeholder approach, and one where governments and companies are both kept at arm’s length…The key thing is getting people to fight for the web and to see the harm that a fractured web would bring. Like any human system, the web needs policing and of course we need national laws, but we must not turn the network into a series of national silos.

Update: just found this video via Youtube  http://youtu.be/PUfPXFlZhpk

Some related images:

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