Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-founder of the World Wide Web and the godfather of the modern day internet, has slammed governments using the internet to snoop and spy on their citizens.
Berners-Lee, vocally pro-internet freedom and anti-web regulation, warned that society cannot become complacent to the threat placed upon our civl liberties by the likes of Prism, the system used by UK and US government agencies, to mine user data offered up by companies like Apple and Facebook.
“In the Middle East, people have been given access to the internet but they have been snooped on and then they have been jailed,” he said.
“Obviously it can be easy for people in the West to say, ‘oh those nasty governments should not be allowed access to spy’. But it’s clear that developed nations are seriously spying on the internet.”
Berners-Lee’s main concern is that, as we become skeptical of the way our web usage is scrutinised by these clandestine governmental forces, we’ll change the way we use the internet, potentially failing to harness its power for good to its full potential.
“Information on the web can be really important in people’s survival. Teenagers who are unsure about their sexuality who need to contact others, or people being abused trying to find helplines.
“[…] There are things that happen on the net that are very intimate, which people are going to be loathe to do if they feel there’s somebody looking over their shoulder.”