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Posted at 3:33 PM ET, 11/22/2010

Creator of the Web calls for continued open Web

By Melissa Bell
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Tim Berners-Lee in 1999. (Dayna Smith)

Almost 20 years ago, the World Wide Web went live on the computer of Tim Berners-Lee in Geneva. "The simple setup demonstrated a profound concept: that any person could share information with anyone else, anywhere," he writes. Now Berners-Lee is fighting to keep that setup still in existence.

One of the creators of the Web took to Scientific America on Monday to write an impassioned plea in support of an open Web, calling it a vital tool for democracy, a public resource owned by everyone and critical to free speech. Berners-Lee is among a number of top technology thinkers fighting against a possible tiered Internet system.

The Web as we know it... is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments--totalitarian and democratic alike--are monitoring people's online habits, endangering important human rights.

One of Berners-Lee's main fears is the revocation of net neutrality, a real possibility. Wireless providers such as Verizon say that an open Web for mobile devices will cause their networks to be overwhelmed. They propose allowing a payment system, where certain Web sites will receive more bandwidth than others, similar to a toll-road system.

Politico reports that the FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will likely announce his support for net neutral wireless networks, in opposition of telecom companies. However, U.S. courts have already ruled that the the FCC had limited power to regulate Comcast and its decision to limit their customers' access to certain Web sites.

The Post's Cecilia Kang spoke Monday to one tech company founder, David Ulevitch of OpenDNS. Ulevitch said that his domain name service company had already been blocked by Verizon and that the loss of net neutrality could destroy the innovation of start-up companies.

Berners-Lee discusses also the dangers of "walled gardens" online and the threat of foreign governments using the Web to snoop on their citizenry. Read his whole impassioned treatise here.

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By Melissa Bell  | November 22, 2010; 3:33 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

The answer to this and many other issues facing our citizens today is simple:

out-bribe the cable companies.


Buy the rat bastahds in D.C. - pay them more than the cable cos are.


In our broken system of bought crooks, money is all that can work; money is the power, the driver, the only "mover and shaker" left in D.C.

Posted by: lquarton | November 23, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

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