By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
The early world of the internet was just a bunch of complicated codes that only the finest of geeks could understand. Then, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, those codes were translated into a fun browser, and the internet grew into the phenomenon it is today. In honor of the Web’s 25th birthday, Berners-Lee is proposing a digital bill of rights to keep the internet open to everyone.
Um, hey, isn’t the internet already accessible to anyone with a connection? While this may be mostly true now, it may not be the case for long. Throughout the years, large internet companies have been bragging about their plans to charge customers for internet access. Basically, if you don’t pay up, you’re disconnected from the internet. These plans go against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and their “Open Internet” rules, which state that customers should be free to decide what they want to access, share, and create on the internet. But, here’s the problem…
Internet providers such as AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and others don’t fall under the FCC classification of an “enhanced utility”, which prevents companies from restricting their service. Instead, they are considered to be “information service providers”. This separate classification gives them the ability to place restrictions on internet access as they please!
This is where Berners-Lee’s proposal comes into play. A digital bill of rights would effectively prevent these companies from taking internet access away from the public because they don’t pay for it. His campaign, Web at 25, and other similar movements such as Web We Want, are pushing for unlimited access to the internet, and also freedom from government snooping. Not only is it what the Web was intended for, the world as we know it depends on open access.
With the way things are now, it seems like internet companies are trying to control the internet and make a ton of money. Unless some sort of digital bill of rights is here to nip it in the bud, we don’t know how much content will be taken away from us.