Lack of net neutrality and open standards threaten the web

By EDRi · December 1, 2010

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Deutsch: [Mangel an Netzneutralität und Open Standards gefährdet das Netz |]

“The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our
continued prosperity-and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs

This is the subtitle of a recent article of Tim Berners-Lee published in
the Scientific American Magazine on 22 November 2010 where he focuses on the
new threats of the current developments of the world wide web: lack of
Internet neutrality, social networking, closed standards and attempts from
governments to snoop on web communications.

The articles titled “Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards
and Neutrality” gives the opportunity to the inventor of the WWW in 1990 to
focus on the core design principles of the web and how they are endangered
today by new policies from private and public actors on the Internet.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee points to Internet neutrality as one of the core
issues that needs to be preserved in order to allow the unhindered
development of the WWW, based on its principles of universality and

The author is clear in emphasizing why legislation is needed to protect
these principles: “A neutral communications medium is the basis of a fair,
competitive market economy, of democracy, and of science. Debate has risen
again in the past year about whether government legislation is needed to
protect net neutrality. It is. Although the Internet and Web generally
thrive on lack of regulation, some basic values have to be legally
preserved. ”

The father of the WWW also explains what the open standards are key to keep
innovation at maximum in the Internet:
“By ‘open standards’ I mean standards that can have any committed expert
involved in the design, that have been widely reviewed as acceptable, that
are available for free on the Web, and that are royalty-free (no need to
pay) for developers and users. Open, royalty-free standards that are easy to
use create the diverse richness of Web sites, from the big names such as
Amazon, Craigslist and Wikipedia to obscure blogs written by adult hobbyists
and to homegrown videos posted by teenagers.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee also points to stupid EU legislation, such as the Hadopi
law in France or the Digital Economy Bill in the UK to prove that the
normative processalso needs to be under scrutiny to ensure the respect of
human rights in the online environment as well:

“In these cases, no due process of law protects people before they are
disconnected or their sites are blocked. Given the many ways the Web is
crucial to our lives and our work, disconnection is a form of deprivation of
liberty. ”

Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality

Social networking is undermining the web, says web inventor (22.11.2010)