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Let’s celebrate the Web every day — by keeping it free and open

Web Foundation · August 23, 2016

Today, many people around the world are celebrating what’s being billed as ‘Internaut Day’. But many people have been asking us: Is Internaut Day actually the right day to celebrate the Web’s invention?

We think the Web should be celebrated every day! And, as we reminisce on the Web’s past, we should remember that we are all responsible for its future, and must take action on critical issues like connecting everyone affordably, protecting the Web from overzealous government and corporate control, and opening up public data for everyone to benefit from.

As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web has said:

“If we spend a certain amount of time using the Internet, we have to spend a little proportion of that time defending it.”

But, since you’ve been asking, here is a quick run-down of important dates we celebrate in the Web’s history at the Web Foundation.  

  • March 12, 1989: Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Founder of the Web Foundation) files his original memo describing the Web at CERN, where he was working. We celebrated this date as the Web’s official 25th birthday back in 2014 — check out the archived site at!
  • December 1990: The first Web page was served on the open Internet.
  • April 1993: CERN announce that “WWW technology would be freely usable by anyone, with no fees being payable to CERN”.

There are lots of other important dates in the Web’s history, of course. In August 1991 — starting on the 6th — Sir Tim invited the public to collaborate on the Web through a series of posts on newsgroups. It’s this development that Internaut Day is based on, and we’re glad that millions of people are coming together through the Web. For a detailed history, see our History page and this timeline from our friends at W3C the international community developing open standards for the Web.

Sir Tim made the visionary decision to give the Web away to the world for free. Our mission is to advance the open Web as a public good and a basic right — so we are thrilled to see so much passion and excitement for it online today.

Help us build a future where the Web empowers everyone, everywhere, every day to take part in building a fairer world. You can subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates on the challenges and opportunities we see for the open Web. We’re looking forward to celebrating future momentous anniversaries with you — the day when everyone can access the Web, the day when there are equal numbers of men and women online, and the day when our online rights — such as free expression, privacy, affordable access and net neutrality — are enshrined in law in every country.

As Sir Tim famously tweeted at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, “This is for everyone!”

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