Magazine article Screen International

Berners-Lee: Protect Web Whistleblowers

Magazine article Screen International

Berners-Lee: Protect Web Whistleblowers

Article excerpt

World wide web creator Tim Berners-Lee has called on internet whistleblowers to be given special protection even if they break the law, in the wake of the Edward Snowden and Wikileaks scandals.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit via videolink from New York, Berners-Lee said that whistleblowers played a vital role in exposing wrongdoing when existing levels of accountability proved to be "not good enough".

Berners-Lee said Snowden's leak about transatlantic government surveillance last month raised difficult questions.

"It balances so many important values against each other" he said. "In the US and the UK the systems of accountability have failed - only one group protects us from abuse, and that is whistleblowers."

"We can't trust the systems we have put together, even if they are done with goodwill. They go astray so we must rely on the whistleblower at the end of day."

Berners-Lee added that Snowden had tried other avenues to raise his concerns, had human interest at heart, and had worked closely with the press, "to release the information with the minimum harm and for the maximum good. …

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