Tim Berners-Lee Warns “Tide of Surveillance and Censorship” threatens Democracy

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1990, is disturbed at the revelations of the degree of surveillance pursued by governments of ordinary people and warns that it could harm the functioning of his baby. He warned yesterday that “a growing tide of surveillance and censorship” . His Web index ranks countries for internet freedom but some of its rankings this year, just released, were made before the full extent of surveillance by the US and the UK became known. He predicts that web users will resort to more encryption, but warns of the drawbacks of closing up the internet that way. He added, “Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online.”

Channel 4 interviews Berners-Lee at length on these issues:

7 Responses

  1. “Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1990…”

    Remember when Al Gore claimed credit for inventing it!

    • Al Gore did support Darpanet, which led to it, Bill. You’re usually more savvy than to fall for that kind of sarcasm meme.

      • Darpanet led to inter-networking (ie the protocols, pipes and plumbing);world wide web is the portal (browsers/html) to the plumbing, two different pieces of what we colloquially call the internet.

  2. Corporate takeover, monopolizatin, and subversion to private profit and control purposes also threatens the existence of free information exchange and access on the internet.
    I read a critical post against TPP on Naked Capitalism recently, and one of the TPP provisions which the Obama Group is trying so hard to keep secret is a provision to permit private corporate owners of anything to do with internet transmission a free and high hand to prevent or remove any content or item at all which they please to prevent or remove.
    For example, if I understand this provision right, under TPP the private owners of whatever cables or pipes or tubes this blog and these comments travel on . . . would have the perfect right to pre-ban or ban and remove your every post concerning global warning, carbon wean-off, etc. At least now, before TPP, the NSA can only record every keystroke and keystroker.

  3. Remember when we were children and we were told not to take candy from strangers?

    Then along came the internet and offered free goodies. Free email, free porn, free newspapers, free everything….And like greedy little children we jumped into the car assuming the stranger was giving it all away because he was a nice man. Perhaps there was a catch but we put that thought away because we were all thinking about the freebies.

    Now we have just realized our pants around our ankles and that man had nasty plans or us all along. There is a price for free and as long as greedy people trust strangers not to harm them there will always be predators out there.

    Putting your real name on Facebook or an email address? Telling the truth in all those forms? Allowing all our private emails to be scanned so we can have targeted ads? What the hell were we thinking?

    Party’s over. Assume everything you write or look at on the internet is tracked, fed into NSA and analyzed. Tim’s dream is dead and even encryption and TOR are only stopgap and ineffective solutions.

    • The proliferation of personal information will eventually overwhelm the NSA and Google and China and …
      The sheer volume of how much we know about how other people think and act will make the old truth that information is power obsolete. Even now while our elders play with some dangerous information such as whether they are going to war the 99.9% are playing in a sunlit field of information that says we are all brothers and sisters.
      There may be more noteworthy “events” for the history books but the history books will be quaint in 20-30 years when we all know the events of history were just rigged to embellish some jerks ego.

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