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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the eRunnymede dept.

nobbis writes:

"In an interview with the Guardian, Tim Berners-Lee proposes a bill of rights for the web. His plan is part of a wider initiative, The Web We Want, a campaign for a 'free open and truly global Internet.' Berners-Lee suggests that governments need an increased understanding of technology, and a revisiting of legal issues such as copyright law.

More controversially he proposes removal of US control of IANA claiming "The removal of the explicit link to the US department of commerce is long overdue. The US can't have a global place in the running of something which is so non-national". He sees the web at risk of fragmentation into "national silos" if people do not fight for the web.

There is potential overlap here with Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights , which states,'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.' Would an internet bill of rights be successful in nations where the principles of the UDHR are ignored ?

Given the anarchic evolution of the internet, is it possible or desirable to attempt to control it in any way?"

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:24PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:24PM (#15317)

    I'm not a historian, but I think you're wrong. You're referring to feudalism, which happened during the "Dark Ages" and Medieval times, and were also a somewhat short portion of history (though much longer than modern times). Go back a couple thousand years or more before that. In the really old days, people lived in tribes, so the people who worked in fields did own the land, along with all their fellow tribespeople. If they got into conflicts with other tribes, or decided they wanted more land, they ended up moving somewhere else and settling. 6-8000 years ago, I don't think they had feudal lords, and there was lots of land since there weren't very many people.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:16PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:16PM (#15393)

    Depends on where you were. I was thinking not just of medieval Europe, but Babylon, Sumeria, ancient Egypt, Rome, Persia, classical Greece (Sparta and Macedonia, not Athens), classical China, classical India, Inca and Aztec civilizations. I absolutely agree that hunter/gather and nomadic societies were quite egalitarian and the people owned the land (often communally). Whenever they started settling permanently and planting crops, a ruling class quickly emerged that claimed ownership of first the land and then, usually, the people. My point is that civilization and tyranny have been two sides of the same coin, and the so-called barbarians have been closer to what we would call free.

    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:53PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:53PM (#15413)

      Civilization definitely implies a certain amount of restriction of freedom: For example, we restrict the freedom of people to punch or kick other people without their consent. Without that, we'd have a hard time creating a functioning society, because you would never know if you could leave your house without getting your butt kicked, much less go about any kind of business activity.

      There are a lot of options between absolute freedom for everyone and absolute tyranny (where 1 person has absolute freedom, but nobody else does) that are a lot more functional than either extreme.

      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:55PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:55PM (#15563)

      The hunter/gatherer and nomadic societies had more "freedom" generally because they had more space. Most of the world was unoccupied, so if you didn't like things, you gathered your tribe with you (or members who wanted to secede from the larger tribe) and marched off to find a new place to live. With so much available land, it wasn't that hard. Also, resources were more plentiful, with the main competition being from other predator animals. When people became too numerous, this kind of carefree living had to stop, and food supplies became scarce, so people invented agriculture and started living in villages. Managing resources effectively necessitates less freedom; you can't have everyone be free to be as wasteful as they want and still maintain a functioning society, especially as people live in more crowded conditions.

      Yes, in some societies, ruling classes emerged which claimed ownership of everything, but many societies did at least attempt to have a functioning government resembling modern republics. Rome is a good example of this; it lasted about 500 years as a republic, without any rulers owning everything (at least not in theory), having a rule of law, etc. It got corrupt and the republic turned into an empire, but still, 500 years is longer than the US has been around. Western civilization really went backwards in a very bad way when Rome collapsed.

      I imagine Rome isn't the only example of an ancient society with a rule of law rather than a dictatorship.