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Web founder Berners-Lee says more state snooping will destroy human rights

World-wide web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called for the government to withdraw its proposal to extend online state surveillance.

These Walls by H.L.I.T.Sir Tim, who’s also a government adviser on making public data more accessible, told The Guardian that the government’s proposals are ‘very dangerous.’

He highlighted the need for a strong independent body to oversee the use of new powers, and secure storage to prevent abuse and leaks of the data they will collect.

“The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing,” said Sir Tim.

“You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites … or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.

“The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous. It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators.”

The bill – which could be announced in the Queen’s Speech on May 9 – would allow state officials to monitor social network, website visits, Skype calls and email traffic in real-time without special permission.

The government’s proposals should be stopped because they don’t mention an oversight regime or how the data will be securely stored to prevent abuse and leaks, he adds.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee devised the system of links between internet pages when he was working at CERN in the late 80s, leading to the creation of the World Wide Web.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has already said he will challenge the snooping bill when it is published in draft form, but Theresa May, the home secretary, has said she plans to press on despite Liberal Democrat misgivings.

Image by: H.L.I.T./Flickr