World wide web father Tim Berners-Lee told politicians on Thursday that it's critical to shield his seminal innovation from control by a single company or country. A top priority for policymakers going forward must be "making sure the web itself is the blank sheet, the blank canvas, something that does not constrain the innovation that's around the corner," the knighted engineer told a US House of Representatives panel that writes internet and telecommunications laws.
That means ensuring anyone can use the web regardless of what software or hardware they're running, which internet service provider supplies their connection, which language they speak, and what disabilities they have, Berners-Lee said. He was the sole witness invited to speak at a hearing in Washington, DC titled "The Future of the World Wide Web", the first of a series of events designed to keep politicians up to speed on communications issues. Although he has previously voiced support for net neutrality, Berners-Lee on Thursday stopped short of taking a position on the various bills on that topic proposed in Congress in the past year.