Skip to main content

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Governments should be cautious over web surveillance

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is never short of an opinion or two, and the instigator of the web has been sharing his thoughts on the Internet and surveillance at "The Web We Want" event in London, which further celebrated the web's 25th anniversary.

Just last month, Berners-Lee advocated a "Magna Carta" style bill of rights for web surfers; a global constitution to ensure that an open and neutral net is maintained.

And according to the BBC, in his latest discussion of web rights, he reiterated his dissatisfaction at GCHQ's role as the "handmaiden" of the NSA – and he said that there needed to be a system of checks and balances in place to make sure that governments are at the very least cautious when it comes to mass net surveillance.

He mentioned that any intelligence agencies should have to be transparent about surveillance, and provide details of what they've achieved through it – and that the permission of a judge should have to be sought when targeting any individual citizen and spying on them.

Net neutrality was again a major theme, with Sir Tim viewing this as an area under attack, which it clearly is given what's happened over in the US lately; what with the Apple-Comcast talks in order to grant Apple streaming traffic priority to avoid any of the dreaded buffering with video, to give one obvious example.

Speaking about net neutrality, Berners-Lee cautioned that: "There's this huge corporate pushback trying to eat away at these core principles."

There is indeed, and it's an attack which has gathered worrying momentum in 2014, with the attitude the FCC has taken over in America of late concerning net neutrality.