Web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee slams Government's monitoring plans
Controversial government plans to allow intelligence agencies to
monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of every person in
the UK should be scrapped, the inventor of the world wide web has said.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned that the "dangerous" new laws would lead to a "destruction of human rights" if they were implemented in their current form.
The new legislation, expected in next month's Queen's Speech, will enable GCHQ to access information "on demand" in "real time" without a warrant.
But the British computer engineer, who advises the Government on how to make public data more accessible, said there has not been enough discussion on how the sensitive data could be safely stored.
In an interview with The Guardian Sir Tim said: "The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous.
"It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and (could be) used, for example, to blackmail people in the Government or people in the military.
"We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused."
The internet pioneer added: "The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing.
"You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites....or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it."
The Home Secretary Theresa May defended the proposals after they faced fierce criticism from backbench MPs and civil liberties groups.
She insisted that suspected terrorists, paedophiles and serious criminals would be targeted by intelligence officials rather than ordinary people.
Sir Tim said that if the government pushes ahead with the plans a "very strong independent body" would have to be set up to scrutinise the use of the powers.
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group
BNP and EDL accused of attempt to fuel racial hatred after Woolwich terror attack
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.