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Last updated at 15:53 GMT, Thursday, 07 November 2013

Monitoring the internet


20 April 2012

World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said people should protest in the streets against current plans to increase internet monitoring.

"People should get out there in the streets waving banners," he told the BBC. Sir Berners-Lee was in Lyon for the World Wide Web 2012 international conference.

Listen to and read what he said:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Berners-Lee at the World Wide Web 2012 international conference in Lyon.


Click to hear the report


"The worry is that this information is very powerful information because it's such intimate information. People actually tell to the web, in a way, sometimes more intimate than they tell to the people in their own family. So the worry is that this powerful information will be recorded and will be sitting there and there won't be much control on how it is used. Whereas in the past if the government had wanted to go and search somebody's house then they would have to go and get a court order to go and do that."

"This is critical infrastructure. This is something we have to keep open; we have to keep it neutral. It's like, interfering with Her Majesty's mails. It's a no-no. For the country to work the mail has got to work, you've got to send a letter from A to B. Similarly if I connect to the internet at A and you connect at B we've got to be able to talk without either large companies or governments intervening and that's going to be a battle and I think it's going to be a battle until we establish some very strong rules of behaviour from governments and agreements about how the internet will be used."

"Talk to your friends; make sure they are aware of this concern. And if necessary get out there in the streets waving banners. Unless it is significantly altered to preserve the rights of the citizen then I think it will be necessary to protest."


Click to hear the vocabulary



private and personal


controlling and influential

a court order

a decision made in a court of law about what must happen in a particular situation


extremely important


system or technology necessary for something to operate


not supporting either side

a no-no

definitely not an option


getting involved


long pieces of fabric with messages on that are carried between two poles


person who has the legal right to belong to a particular country