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English scientist Tim Berners Lee from the Web Foundation addresses the opening ceremony of annual Web Summit technology conference in Lisb

Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches 'Magna Carta for the web' to save internet from abuse

Berners-Lee highlighted studies showing that half of the world population will be online by next year - but the rate of take-up was slowing considerably, potentially leaving billions cut off from government services, education and public debate.

However, as the Web approaches nearly 50% of the world's population as users, Berners-Lee is not convinced that these principles are being upheld or that his original ideals for the Web are being protected. Both have faced ongoing criticism over harvesting people's personal data to serve ads and failing to safeguard the information from third-party companies.

Berners-Lee calls the contract a "Magna Carta for the web".

Berners-Lee also asked for the people to support the principles he has outlined and help build these into a full Contract for the Web that will be published in May 2019. He has now launched a plan to build a "Contract for the Web", as part of an overarching global campaign to defend a free and open web for everyone. "We have fake news, we have problems with privacy, we have people being profiled and manipulated", he said in an opening address. It also criticized the fact that "billions" of people have to connect to the Web through "a small handful of huge companies".

"For many years there was a feeling that the wonderful things on the web were going to dominate and we'd have a world with less conflict, more understanding, more and better science, and good democracy", Berners-Lee told the Guardian. And to fix the issues we have with the existing Web. The other reminds us that it can be hijacked by toxic actors looking to get away with (figurative) murder.

Berners-Lee, who in 1989 invented the World Wide Web as a way to exchange information, said the internet had deviated from the goals its founders had envisaged.

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Roya Mahboob, founder of the Afghan Girls Robotics Club, said: "The contract for the web comes at a ideal time for women and girls around the world to speak truth to power, call out injustice and seize new opportunities". Think of it as a canonical source of data for your online data, which can then be easily shared with businesses or governments, whilst always maintaining control. "We believe it offers an important opportunity to step back and examine the responsibilities we all have to make sure the web delivers on its promise", a spokesperson said.

Why a contract? Why not a manifesto? Let's all get together and do better.

The contract itself is broken into different commitments for companies, governments and citizens.

Repentant, or disappointed, the pioneers of the web intend to take advantage of the Web Summit to demonstrate that the dream of an internet that would take the best of ourselves can still be done.

The initiative has already secured backing from over 50 organisations, including the French government, civil society organisations such as Access Now, Internet Sans Frontières, Project Isizwe, NewNow and the Digital Empowerment Foundation, as well as companies including Google, AnchorFree, Facebook and Cloudflare.

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