Mr Internet Says "The Future of Democracy" is Threatened by Today's Overbearing Surveillance Culture

By Gary Cutlack on at

The NSA revelations and general feeling of threat that comes from the knowledge our communications are being watched is worrying Tim Berners-Lee, so much so that he's calling for "bold steps" to be taken to ensure our privacy and right to freedom of expression make it through this era of intense monitoring and paranoia.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, speaking at the launch of his World Wide Web Foundation's Web Index, told attendees that: "...a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy. Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online."

Pretty bold stuff there from Sir Tim Winston William Wilfred Berners-Lee, whose data suggests that 30 per cent of countries block or at least filter some political content online, while Sweden, Norway and the good old UK top the rankings in terms of access, openness and empowerment, however empowerment is measured.

The image above claims to show parts of the world where the web has played a part in political "mobilisation" over the past year, and as it includes the UK it must cover pretty tame forms of protest like students organising mass sit-downs on Facebook and Twitter. [Web Foundation via BBC]