British Library offers “digital” Magna Carta

King John LacklandIt’s 800 years since powerful barons forced King John – pictured –  to sign the Magna Carta on a muddy meadow in Runnymede, Surrey.

But now the British Library has come up with a so-called “Magna Carta for the digital age”

It contains 10 clauses selected by 30,000 voters who chose their favourites from a list the British Library supplied.

The top 10 most popular clauses are:

The Web we want will not let companies pay to control it, and not let governments restrict our right to information
◊ The Web we want will allow freedom of speech
◊ The Web we want will be free from government censors in all countries
◊ The Web we want will not allow any kind of government censorship
◊ The Web we want will be available for all those who wish to use it
◊ The Web we want will be free from censorship and mass surveillance
◊ The Web we want will allow equal access to knowledge, information and current news worldwide
◊ The Web we want will have freedom of speech
◊ The Web we want will not be censored by the government
◊ The Web we want will not sell our personal information and preferences for money, and will make it clearer if the company/Website intends to do so

From that it’s pretty clear that the 30,000 people who voted want governments and corporations to keep their noses out of personal affairs.

But we wonder whether this digital “Magna Carta” will be around in 800 years, given that file formats change every year or two. Will people in 800 years’ time even know what a CD ROM is for?