World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Defends Net Neutrality: 'I Invented an Open, Permissionless Space'

The inventor of the World Wide Web tweeted his support for net neutrality on Wednesday, writing that he created the network as "an open, permissionless space" made for everyone, not just those who can afford to pay.

His comment came as Democratic lawmakers pushed colleagues in the Senate to consider new legislation that would put the Federal Communications Commission's decision to end net neutrality under review.

"I invented the web as an open, permissionless space #foreveryone. The FCC's repeal of #NetNeutrality threatens to take that away," wrote computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. "Tell the Senate they must protect net neutrality to keep the web open." He also tagged Senators Lisa Murkowski, John Kennedy and Jeff Flake in the tweet—conservative lawmakers whom supporters believe may swing a potential vote on the issue.

Since establishing the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee has continued to work in the tech industry and is an advocate for internet accessibility. In 2008, he founded the World Wide Web Foundation, which, according to its mission statement, is built around the idea that the internet is a basic right and a global public good.

Although net neutrality—which barred internet service providers from playing favorites with content providers—was squashed by the Federal Communications Commission last year, the issue has come up again after Democratic lawmakers, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, announced plans to force a vote on the issue under the Congressional Review Act.

"We are approaching the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and we are just #OneMoreVote away from securing victory," Markey said in a Wednesday statement posted to his Facebook page. "Join me and my colleagues in this historic moment and help us kick off a week of action to #SaveTheInternet."

The procedural step effectively allows Congress to overrule federal regulations within 60 legislative days of their introduction. It's unclear when the vote would come, but the deadline for a congressional review is June 12.

"Congress has the power through the Congressional Review Act to overturn the FCC's actions," Markey said during a news conference back in January. "We will spend the coming months building our grass-roots support for the CRA."

The issue has gained wide support on social media and user-generated content sites, such as Reddit and Tumblr. Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has repeatedly claimed that repealing the Obama-era regulations is good for business. He has also pointed out that internet service providers did not throttle connections or play favorites before the 2015 Open Internet Order.

Pai also made what was supposed to be a humorous video about his position, but was later slammed when it was revealed one of the people in the video had connections to the debunked Pizza Gate conspiracy theory.

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The founder of the World Wide Web has been an ardent supporter of net neutrality. On Wednesday, he reiterated his position in a statement urging the public to contact their lawmakers. Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Defends Net Neutrality: 'I Invented an Open, Permissionless Space' | U.S.