Tim Berners-Lee: ‘We should have ways of protecting people like Snowden’

By Katie Rogers | March 12 2014 | theguardian.com

After telling the Guardian that the internet needs its own bill of rights, the web inventor opened up the discussion to Reddit.

Tim Berners-Lee thinks the internet deserves its own bill of rights. Twenty-five years after writing a draft proposal about what would later become the world wide web – and one day after describing his proposal of an internet ‘Magna Carta’ to the Guardian’s Jemima Kiss – Berners-Lee took his idea to an interested audience: the denizens of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything section.

A refresher from Kiss’s Tuesday exclusive:
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 fielded questions from Reddit users about the importance of net neutrality and gave his views about the actions of Edward Snowden. But he also answered for his bad spelling and an apparent lack of foresight into what would become the internet’s extreme interest in all things feline. We’ve collected some of the highlights below:

mart95123: Edward Snowden – hero or villain?
Because he ✓ had no other alternative ✓ engaged as a journalist / with a journalist to be careful of how what was released, and ✓ provided an important net overall benefit to the world, I think he should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the whistleblower may be all that saves society.