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 told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the “open, neutral” system.
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.”
Berners-Lee has been an outspoken critic of the American and British spy agencies’ surveillance of citizens. In the light of what has emerged, he said, people were looking for an overhaul of how the security services were managed.
Meanwhile, top-secret documents revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, indicate that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.
The NSA, apparently, has developed the ability to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and take files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam.
The intelligence community’s “Black Budget” for 2013, obtained by Snowden, lists the TURBINE program as part of a broader NSA surveillance initiative named “Owning the Net,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, President Obama’s nominee to run the National Security Agency, told the Senate on Tuesday that all of the major combat commands in the United States military will soon have dedicated forces to conduct cyberattacks.
Berners-Lee spoke with CNET’s Stephen Shankland about what he sees as the Web’s next priorities. His to-do list includes reining in governmental spying, ensuring personal privacy, getting people to look beyond their own narrow cultural interests, and reshaping the Web into a better foundation for software instead of just documents.