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Internet users' bill of rights

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The Internet users' bill of rights is legislation proposed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to protect the rights of individuals online. 

The proposed bill is part of a campaign called the Web We Want, which was developed to ensure the same core principles that fostered the Web’s success continue to help it reach its potential as a tool for knowledge, democracy and freedom of expression.

In 1989, Berners-Lee drafted the proposal that would become the World Wide Web (WWW). For its twenty-fifth anniversary, he proposed the development of a bill of rights much like a modern-day Magna Carta.

The key principles include:

  • Accessibility.
  • Affordability.
  • Privacy.
  • Freedom of expression.
  • Diverse, decentralized and open platform.
  • Net neutrality for users and content alike.

Berners-Lee emphasizes the need for Internet users to drive its direction. He exhorts that as governments increasingly deny Internet users’ rights to privacy and freedom, they must engage in debate, action and protest.

As Berners-Lee describes his motivation and vision:

“I believe we can build a Web that is truly for everyone: one that is accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans.”

This was last updated in March 2014

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A www bill of rights should also include responsibilities, because you should not be given one without the other. People should have the right to conduct their business online in freedom, but we should also have the collective responsibility to protect the young, innocent and vulnerable from abuses and misuse of this tool.
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