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25th Anniversary of the World Wide Web (Internet)


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On the 25th anniversary of the web, let’s keep it free and open

On the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, we’re pleased to share this guest post from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. In this post he reflects on the past, present and future of the web—and encourages the rest of us to fight to keep it free and open. -Ed.

Today is the web’s 25th birthday. On March 12, 1989, I distributed a proposal to improve information flows: “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them.”

Though CERN, as a physics lab, couldn’t justify such a general software project, my boss Mike Sendall allowed me to work on it on the side. In 1990, I wrote the first browser and editor. In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.


The first web server, used by Tim Berners-Lee. Photo via


This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.

How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.

So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also an occasion to think, discuss—and do. Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?

On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.

Posted by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web


Web founder Tim Berners-Lee calls for internet bill of rights

World Wide Web turns 25 years old today amid widespread online surveillance


"Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control - more and more surveillance?" asks Tim Berners-Lee, seen here in a 2013 photo.

The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, called on Wednesday for bill of rights to protect freedom of speech on the internet and users' rights after leaks about government surveillance of online activity.

Exactly 25 years since the London-born computer scientist invented the web, Berners-Lee said there was a need for a charter like England's historic Magna Carta to help guarantee fundamental principles online.

Web privacy and freedom have come under scrutiny since former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year leaked a raft of secret documents revealing a vast U.S. government system for monitoring phone and Internet data.

Accusations that NSA was mining personal data of users of Google, Facebook, Skype and other U.S. companies prompted President Barack Obama to announce reforms in January to scale back the NSA programme and ban eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies of the United States.

Threat to democracy

Berners-Lee said it was time for a communal decision as he warned that growing surveillance and censorship, in countries such as China, threatened the future of democracy.

"Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control - more and more surveillance?" he told BBC Radio on Wednesday.

"Or are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it's so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?" he said, referring to the 1215 English charter.

The Magna Carta, signed between England's King John and feudal barons, regulated feudal customs and the justice system to "limit despotic behaviour by the king," according to the British Library. It is most famous for a clause that guarantees that no "free man" will be stripped of rights or property, imprisoned or exiled "except by the lawful judgment of his equals."

Greater oversight of spy agencies

While acknowledging the state needed the power to tackle criminals using the internet, Berners-Lee has called for greater oversight over spy agencies such Britain's GCHQ and the NSA, and over any organizations collecting data on private individuals.

He has previously spoken in support of Snowden, saying his actions were "in the public interest".

Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium, a global community with a mission to lead the web to its full potential, have launched a year of action for a campaign called the Web We Want, urging people to push for an Internet "bill of rights" for every country.

"Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years," he told the Guardian newspaper.


Disclaimer: Al Gore did not invent the internet.

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My first PC was a XT turbo with 1200 baud modem, 30 GB hard drive, 1 meg ram and amber monitor!

I then upgraded to a USR 9600 baud modem!

That's how I got "Heretic" - that's what I went by when the net started.

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My first PC was a XT turbo with 1200 baud modem, 30 GB hard drive, 1 meg ram and amber monitor!

I then upgraded to a USR 9600 baud modem!

That's how I got "Heretic" - that's what I went by when the net started.

My first computer was an IBM Aptiva, it was a 486SX50 I believe.

356 MB hard drive

4 MB RAM. I upgraded to 8, the 4 MB chip was like $300 bucks.

2800 baud modem

I remember using Prodigy to connect to the net since it came with the computer. Then I used Internet Direct. Those were the days. You would pay like $25 bucks a month for 4 hours of access. You could sit there and watch it redial for an hour sometimes because of busy signals.

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Neither did Tim Berners-Lee . It was a gradual process of evolution with many people playing major and minor parts. Pop culture likes to put one persons name on things though.

Agreed. Even though he did invent the World Wide Web, which is the form of internet we all use today, the internet existed in other forms prior to that. Al Gore didn't invent it (no one did, like you said) but he did have a hand in progressing it.

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