25 years have passed since Sir Tim Berners-Lee planted the seeds of creation for the Internet Age we now habitat and since then it has rapidly grown and embedded itself in our everyday lives. With almost everything we do documented in some virtual form or another, whether it’s a public post on Facebook or personal emails between friends, intelligence agencies and hackers alike can use this data to mine out information about each and every one of us. Thanks to Edward Snowden’s information leaks we know that our data is mined from our private messages by various intelligence agencies. Hacking groups such as “Anonymous” have shown us that we can’t trust our data to be held at big companies without it being stolen and with all these security scandals batting around the questions to be asked is who should be doing something about it?
Many debate the answer to this question but really the answer is everyone is responsible. Big corporations need better encryption, and to make it clearer what data they collate. Individual users need to be careful what they are sending over both public and private networks. And governments need to educate people how to stay safe on the web while at the same time making sure they are not taking Internet surveillance too far.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s suggestion then would be a massive step forward in documenting the responsibilities of various corporations and organisations, whilst also helping to make people understand their rights in regards to personal data staying personal. It would allow government agencies to understand how far they are allowed to pry into people’s lives and allow whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden to have the ability to speak out about these acts as being unlawful rather than just immoral. It would allow government agencies to penalise companies for incorrect usage/storage of data. All round this would add, in the words of Edward Snowden, a “defence against the dark arts in the digital realm.”
I guess what it comes down to is that our parents always know best, and since Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave birth to the internet we would be childish not to take his advise and produce a Virtual Magna Carta setting our Human Rights when it comes to the Internet.