Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee hits out at spy agencies as bosses face MPs grilling
Sir Tim called for 'a full and frank' public debate as intelligence bosses face quizzing from Parliamentary committee later this afternoon
The creator of the world wide web has hit out at US and UK spy agencies, condemning their online encryption cracking as "appalling and foolish".
Sir Tim Berners-Lee argued cracking online encryption, which protects millions of users' data, would weaken online security and benefit criminal gangs and hostile states.
The computer scientist said the checks and balances implemented to oversee the agencies had failed, and accused the security agencies of weakening online security.
Sir Tim, who founded the web on Christmas Day 1990, argued publishing leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was in the public interest as it "uncovered many important issues" and called for a "full and frank public debate" about the scale and scope of state surveillance.
He said whistleblowing and responsible reporting can "step in" to protect society's interests.
"Whistleblowers, and responsible media outlets that work with them, play an important role", he told The Guardian.
"We need powerful agencies to combat criminal activity online - but any powerful agency needs checks and balances, and based on recent revelations it seems the current system of checks and balances has failed."
His comments come as intelligence chiefs from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ prepare to face MPs later this afternoon in Westminister for a grilling on their practices and conduct from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, led by Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
The 90-minute session is scheduled to begin at 2pm GMT and will be broadcast with a time delay to allow the removal of anything that could threaten national security or safety of those employed by the agencies.
Sir Malcolm told Sky's Murnaghan Show that the committee would not ask questions that would force intelligence chiefs into revealing secret information.
He said: “We do ask them that in private but, what has become already evident, is you can have an intelligent and mature debate on intelligence issues, including the intelligence chiefs themselves, without having to reveal specific secrets.”
The hearing will be the first time intelligence bosses are quizzed in public by a committee.
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...