Big companies and governments are a threat to the internet, said web inventor Sir Time Berners-Lee, who called for rules to safeguard independence and privacy for internet users.
At the Web We Want Festival in London, the British computer scientist called for a ‘bill of rights' to be established to protect web users against snooping and censorship from big companies and data-gathering government organisations.
According to reports by the Press Association, Berners-Lee is concerned that companies tweak and work around laws to establish significant control over internet users.
"It [the internet] has got so big that 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," he declared.
Berners-Lee believes organisations can use their placement within the internet to abuse their positions of power.
"If they can spy on what you're doing they can understand a huge amount about you and similarly 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 and if they can spy on you and find out the people who are really serious dissidents then they can round you up and put you in jail.
"So suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies," explained Berners-Lee.
In response to his concerns, Berners-Lee said the internet needs to be a "neutral medium" that reflects aspects of humanity rather than try to censor it.
He declared that an internet version of the 13th century Magna Carta is needed to enshrine the rights of web users against infringement from businesses and governments.
"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 explained.
However, he did acknowledge that keeping the internet as a "neutral medium" would unveil some of the darker elements of humanity.
"The web is not censoring what is going on then you're looking at humanity, you're looking at a mirror of humanity. You see some wonderful stuff and you see some ghastly stuff," he stated.
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