Tim Berners-Lee calls UK and US anti-privacy legislation "appalling"

Web inventor receives Turing award, the 'Nobel prize of computing'

Tim Berners-Lee criticised both the UK and US's moves to curtail internet privacy yesterday shortly after receiving the Turing Award, known as the Nobel prize of computing.

The inventor of the World Wide Web, who came up with the framework as a way for people to share information, bemoaned the evolution of the internet, upon which the Web sits, in interviews with the BBC and the Guardian.

Speaking with the BBC, he called the UK government's attempts to pressure encrypted messaging tools into providing backdoors through their encryption a "bad idea", echoing security experts' beliefs that doing so would enable hackers to break in as well.

He said: "If you're trying to catch terrorists it's really tempting to demand to be able to break all that encryption but if you break that encryption then guess what so could other people and guess what they may end up getting better at it than you are."

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Home secretary Amber Rudd's demand followed last month's Westminster attack in which five people were killed and came after the Investigatory Powers Act passed through Parliamentlast year, forcing ISPs to hold onto users' web histories (the websites, rather than the pages, they visit) and share it with spy agencies on demand. Berners-Lee called the legislation "appalling".

Under president Donald Trump, the US has undone pro-privacy legislation put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Congress and Trump himself repealed an FCC legislative measurepreventing ISPs from selling users' browsing and personal data to third parties late last month.

"That bill was a disgusting bill, because when we use the Web, we are so vulnerable," Berners-Lee told the Guardian.

"Privacy, a core American value, is not a partisan thing," he added. "I am very shocked that the Republican Party has managed to suggest that it should be trashed; if anyone follows up on this direction, there will be a massive pushback and there must be a massive pushback."

He promised the same thing if the US repeals the FCC's landmark net neutrality legislation.

Picture credit: Bigstock

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now


data management

EU-US data transfer tools used by Facebook ruled legal

19 Dec 2019
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Arcserve UDP 9240DR review: Beef up your backups

4 Apr 2019

Most Popular

data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020