Government surveillance and privacy breaches are eroding faith in the Web and 57% say there should be a “Digital Bill of Rights” in the UK
Sir Tim Berners-Lee introduced his vision to set up a Magna Carta For The Internet with Katarzna Szymielewicz, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, FLOSS activist Nnenna Nwakanma and Josh Levy of Access Now as inventor of the World Wide Web. Introduced by Olivia Solon, technology editor at Mirror Online and Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre.
A new survey shows that government surveillance and other privacy breaches have caused two in five Britons to lose some trust in the Web over the past year. Meanwhile, less than a quarter of people in the UK believe that existing laws are fit for purpose in the digital era, and more than half (57%) think a dedicated “Bill of Rights” for the Internet should be developed.
These findings were unveiled over the weekend at the Web We Want Festival, a new three part festival co-organised by the World Wide Web Foundation and Southbank Centre in celebration of the Web’s 25th anniversary this year.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation said:
“A trusted Web is crucial to the UK’s future – our tech sector has led the way out of recession, creating more jobs than any other industry in recent years. A Britain in which people no longer trust the Web as a safe and private place will be a Britain that is less free, less creative and ultimately less prosperous. The 2015 General Election is an opportunity for party leaders to reverse this worrying trend by committing to end indiscriminate online surveillance and enact a new digital bill of rights.”
Renata Avila, Global Campaign Manager for the Web Foundation’s Web We Want (webwewant.org) campaign added:
“The survey results provide hard evidence that indiscriminate mass surveillance has broken many people’s trust in the Web. This may stop them speaking out, seeking information or even doing business on the Internet. To protect our democracy and economy, governments must act now, starting with engaging in an open dialogue with citizens on the reforms needed to restore trust.”
The next weekend of the Web We Want Festival takes place on 28-30 November 2014 at the Southbank Centre. The programme is being crowdsourced – visit:
http://webwewant.southbankcentre.co.uk/ and follow #webwewantfest to contribute.
Survey Data (All Respondents)
GFK NOP interviewed a representative quota sample of 2083 adults aged 16+ in home between 18 to 23 September 2014.
Q.1 THE INTERNET IS NOW VITAL TO MANY ASPECTS OF LIFE TODAY. DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A ’DIGITAL BILL OF RIGHTS’ THAT SPELLS OUT ONLINE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN AREAS SUCH AS PRIVACY, SURVEILLANCE, SECURITY AND HATE SPEECH, OR ARE EXISTING LAWS STILL GOOD ENOUGH TO MANAGE?
Should be a Bill of Rights 57%
Existing laws are good enough 24%
Don’t Know 19%
Q2: OVER THE LAST YEAR THERE HAVE BEEN MANY REVELATIONS ABOUT VIOLATIONS OF PRIVACY AND ABOUT GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD ROUTINELY MONITORING WHAT WE DO ONLINE. WOULD YOU SAY YOU TRUST THE WEB LESS THAN A YEAR AGO BECAUSE OF THIS, OR HAS IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE? IS THAT A LOT LESS OR A LITTLE LESS?
I trust the Web a lot less 17%
I trust the Web a little less 23%
It has made no difference 52%
Don’t know 8%
The full survey results are available for download here: https://webfoundation.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/09/internet1.pdf
About the World Wide Web Foundation and the Web We Want Campaign
Established by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Foundation seeks to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right.
The Web We Want movement, initiated by the Web Foundation, is calling on everyone, everywhere to play their part in shaping and enhancing the Web. With our supporters and partners, we respond to threats to the Web with action – driving real change at a national and global level. Web We Want is campaigning for a global ‘Magna Carta for the Web’. We want citizens in every country to be protected by an online Bill of Rights in their nation too. We also support local activists – in the past six months we’ve partnered with over 30 organisations supporting local campaigns, research and projects reaching tens of thousands of people across the globe.
About the Web We Want Festival
Southbank Centre’s Web We Want is a major new festival that runs from September 2014 – May 2015 and celebrates 25 years of the invention of the Web. Partnering with the Web Foundation, the festival looks at the profound impact the Web has had on individuals, governments and societies at large and will play a leading role in the UK’s contribution to the ‘Web We Want’ global campaign for a free, open and universal Web for the future. For more information visit
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