Tim Berners-Lee Says UK's Net Spying Plans Would Be 'Destruction Of Human Rights'

from the and-he-should-know dept

Not content with inventing the Web and then giving it away, Tim Berners-Lee remains highly active in warning about the threats the Internet and its users face. Most recently he has taken on the British government's disproportionate plans to store information about every email sent and Web page visited in the UK:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who serves as an adviser to the government on how to make public data more accessible, says the extension of the state's surveillance powers would be a "destruction of human rights" and would make a huge amount of highly intimate information vulnerable to theft or release by corrupt officials. In an interview with the Guardian, Berners-Lee said: "The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing."
What's particularly useful about his latest intervention is not just the authority with which he speaks on this subject, but the specificity of his warning:
"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, and [could be] used, for example, to blackmail people in the government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused."
That is, even leaving aside concerns about crucially important issues such as privacy and total surveillance, the UK plans are an awful idea from a purely practical viewpoint: they will actually make the UK less safe for all the reasons that Berners-Lee lists. Because of this fundamental flaw, he emphasizes:
"the most important thing to do is to stop the bill as it is at the moment"
Let's hope the UK government listens to its own adviser, at least.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: human rights, internet freedom, spying, tim berners-lee, uk


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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 20 Apr 2012 @ 3:44am

    News of the World

    The News of the World and other Murdoch papers seem to have been able to "buy" certain government employees. Why don't they realise that, if this information exists, then it is at the mercy of human beings who may easily be corrupted by the press (or worse) for private gain?

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