Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the world wide web and he believes that the United Kingdom and the United States must do more to protect the privacy of Internet users.The well-known computer scientist warned that there was a growing tide of surveillance and censorship online, which poses a threat to the future of democracy itself, the Guardian reports.
The statement coming from Berners-Lee was given before the second annual release of a classification of countries based on a set of freedoms centered on the Internet, called the Web Index.
The United States has suffered quite a hit over the past year, dropping from the second to the fourth place. The UK has kept its third place, while Sweden and Norway have climbed to the top two positions of the list.
The situation could be worse for the two spying nations in the coming year if things continue as they have.
During last year’s inaugural speech, Berners-Lee focused on the issues Internet users faced during the Arab spring, but this year, he highlighted the Guardian’s revelations about online spying and the subversion of Internet protocols by the US’ NSA and the British GCHQ.
The list analyzes 81 countries and measures the extent of access to the Internet, censorship and how “empowered” people are by the Internet. Last year there were only 61 countries on the list.
The results are mixed. 76 of the 81 countries did not meet “best practice” standards when it comes to the checks and balances set in place on government interception of electronic communications.
However, web and social media are spurring people to organize at a higher rate than before, pushing them to take action and expose wrongdoing across the world. Some governments feel threatened by this, as it has been obvious over the years, while, as Berners-Lee points out, there’s a growing tide of surveillance and censorship threatening the future of democracy.