Skip to main content

Tim Berners-Lee speaks out against government and corporate dominance of the web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has once again been warning over the spectre of corporations and governments having too much control over the web.

At the weekend, speaking at the Web We Want festival in London, he reiterated the need for a bill of rights that would guarantee the independence of the web, and underline users' privacy rights.

According to the Guardian (opens in new tab), Berners-Lee commented: "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."

"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 also had a pop at internet censorship in terms of Google's right to be forgotten, whereby folks can attempt to wipe away links to their past misdeeds (which they can claim are now irrelevant), something Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales has also spoken out against on several occasions (opens in new tab).

Related: World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee to kick off IP EXPO Europe 2014 in London (opens in new tab)

Berners-Lee said: "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."

It's not the first time Sir Tim has banged this particular drum, as back in March he used the 25th birthday of the web (opens in new tab) to make a very similar call for a "global constitution – a bill of rights", and also noted that the net was being bent to the needs of corporations and governments. He called for protection of privacy and free speech, and a responsible level of anonymity on the web.

All of this, of course, is in great part a reaction to Snowden's revelations (opens in new tab) of the extent to which the NSA and authorities across the globe are carrying out surveillance of internet traffic and communications all round.

Read more: Sadly Snowden's right: Online encryption is a necessity (opens in new tab)

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.