Tim Berners-Lee says freedom of internet under threat

online censorship

Tim Berners-Lee claims our internet freedom in under threat by governments and corporations that don't have the public's interest at heart and has called for a bill of rights to be introduced to ensure users' privacy.

He said these organisations are tempted to abuse the open internet and this issue has come to light after former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked information suggesting the government was snooping on US citizens.

Berners-Lee said at the Web We Want festival: "If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life.

"If a government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power."

Although he explained that certain activities such as "child pornography, fraud, telling someone how to rob a bank," were illegal before the internet existed and will always be against the law, the guidelines should state that no one is spied on and censorship should not exist where the internet is concerned.

He also referred to the European Union's 'right to be forgotten' ruling that allows individuals to request links to information about themselves be removed from search engines - essentially ensuring the public can self-censor information.

Google said it received 41,000 requests in the first four days of it allowing people to apply for the removal of links, although the search giant only approved requests if the links related to be "irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.