Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the English computer scientist who invented the World Wide Web, has weighed in with his thoughts on the controversial government plans to monitor the calls, emails, texts and web usage of every person in the UK.
He voiced his opposition to the proposed plans by saying that the new laws would be “dangerous”, and could pave to way to a “destruction of human rights”. If passed, the new legislation will give GCHC the ability to access information “on demand” in “real time” without prior need for a warrant.
Speaking to the Guardian, Sir Tim’s view appears to be less rooted in the fear of an Orwellian Big Brother State, but more concerned with the problem of safely storing all of this data. He is acutely aware of the risks of such data being stolen by “corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and (could be) used, for example, to blackmail people in the Government or people in the military.”
He went on to say: “The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing. 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] a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.”
In defense of the proposals, Home Secretary Theresa May has said that suspected terrorists, paedophiles and serious criminals would be targeted by intelligence officials rather than ordinary people.
What do you think about this? It has to be said that Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s suggestion for a “very strong independent body” to scrutinise the use of the powers must be a given, but do you think that these powers should exist in the first place?