Following the revelations of governments backed internet snooping by NSA and CIA, recently, the Russian president Vladimir Putin has alleged that the internet was created by the CIA to snoop on every internet user. Now, Sir Tim Berners-Lee who created the World Wide Web in 1989 said that the Putin’s allegations are not true. He also noted that the internet access is a basic human right today and it had changed the way the whole world works.
Earlier been a spy with Russian intelligence service KGB, Putin hasn’t blocked the internet in his country, but he doesn’t use the email or anything where the data can be leaked by hacking.
Although the Internet was developed by the help of American government’s funding, Berners Lee said, “The Internet is not a CIA creation.” He also said that the idea of internet was spread by academicians, “it was the academic community who wired up their universities so it was put together by smart, well-meaning people who thought it was a good idea.”
However, Sir Tim Berners-Lee had earlier lashed out the United States and Britain government over their roles in secret surveillance programs to snoop around the Internet users, which, he believes weakens the foundations of the World Wide Web. He also urged the Mainland China to unblock the Internet usage by its citizens by shutting down the “great firewall.”
Earlier this week, the Web Foundation released its annual Web Index report, which focuses on the current issues, such as user privacy& surveillance, censorship, equality, gender-based violence, racism, empowerment and the latest net neutrality issues across 86 countries.
This year’s Web Index findings shows that the Internet is becoming less free and more unequal. The Web Foundation reported that over 60 percent of the world population cannot get online (almost 4.3 billion people) and over the 50 percent of the users who have access to the Internet live in those countries where the governments severely restrict their rights online. The foundation believes that 84 percent of countries don’t have any laws or have weak laws to protect its citizen’s internet privacy from the issues like surveillance and cyber crimes. This number was in 63 percent in last year’s annual Web Index report. In 2013, 6 percent of countries were censoring politically or socially sensitive content to a ‘moderate or extensive’ degree, which, now moved to 38 percent in 2014-2015.
Regarding the World Wide Web Foundation’s ranking system where these 86 countries’ internet approach are being ranked, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said that any countries should recognize the Internet as a basic human right and protect it from commercialization as well as politicization. Ethiopia and Myanmar are placed in the last place, while Denmark and Finland are being placed in the top of the table. Surprisingly, the United States came to 6th place, while Britain has been placed in 4th place. China is in 44th rank, while Russia is in 35th rank. Netherlands, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Belgium and Sweden are placed in 9th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 5th position, respectively.
“Like all powerful tools, it can be used for good and evil, it can be used by good people and bad people. When you look at the Web you see humanity connected. Humanity has got some wonderful parts and some gruesome parts. You can’t design an Internet that will suddenly turn everybody into saints. What you can do is, design an Internet that is open.”
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