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Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee calls on internet users to demand legal protection from PRISM

Also questions who keeps the collected data safe
Mon Jun 10 2013, 14:28
British physicist and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee

WORLD WIDE WEB INVENTOR Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called on internet users to demand legal protection in the wake of the PRISM scandal that has snared US and UK governments along with internet service providers such as Apple, Google and Facebook.

Last week's disclosure of the US government's PRISM programme that allegedly snoops on internet activity has caused widespread outrage, with the UK's GCHQ also allegedly being involved in participating in PRISM. Now Berners-Lee, whose world wide web invention allegedly is being misused by the US and UK governments, has called for internet users to demand "legal protection and due process safeguards".

Berners-Lee, who has long campaigned for free speech and an open internet free from government control, told the Financial Times, "Unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society."

He then issued a call to arms and said that internet users should be informed when another party stores or accesses data. He said, "I call on all web users to demand better legal protection and due process safeguards for the privacy of their online communications, including their right to be informed when someone requests or stores their data. Over the last two decades, the web has become an integral part of our lives. A trace of our use of it can reveal very intimate personal things."

Berners-Lee concluded with a simple question: how do internet users know if their personal data is being kept secure? He said, "A store of this information about each person is a huge liability: whom would you trust to decide when to access it, or even to keep it secure?"

Berners-Lee called for internet users to demand their rights, and he also moved the concerns on from outrage against alleged blanket surveillance to the equally serious demand that authorities keep this vast amount of data safe. This is an appropriate public concern, given that the US and UK governments have repeatedly warned about the dangers of state sponsored "cyber terrorism". µ


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