The founder of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has again voiced his concern in the wake of the PRISM scandal that his invention is being abused by governments for nefarious purposes and this is putting its future at risk.
Speaking to The Times, Berners-Lee said that the extent of spying in the west was of cause for grave concern and governments needed to take a look at their activities and curb them.
“In the Middle East, people have been given access to the internet but they have been snooped on and then they have been jailed,” he said.
"Obviously, it can be easy for people in the West to say, 'Oh, those nasty governments should not be allowed access to spy'. But it's clear that developed nations are seriously spying on the internet."
Additionally, in comments made at the inaugural £1m Queen Elizabeth prize for engineering, a prize won by Berners-Lee alongside other web luminaries such as Vint Cerf, Berners-Lee said that the open nature of the web was its greatest asset, but also its biggest weakness that must be protected.
"The original design of the web of 24 years ago was for a universal space, we didn't have a particular computer in mind or browser, or language," he said, as reported by The Guardian.
"When you make something universal …it can be used for good things or nasty things … we just have to make sure it's not undercut by any large companies or governments trying to use it and get total control."
During the award ceremony, prime minister David Cameron praised the work of Berners-Lee as an inspiration for the country as it seeks more digital pioneers for the future of the economy.
“More than any other time in history our world is being shaped by innovation, new ideas, new technologies and new companies. This is the story of the global economy,” he said.
“People young and old around the world will be inspired by the incredible feats that these men have achieved - with our very own Sir Tim Berners-Lee a shining example of Britain’s ability to succeed in the global race.”
The comments from Berners-Lee come as German justice ministers demand information from the UK government on the extent of the PRISM scandal in the wake of claims that GCHQ has been hoovering up data from telecoms pipes that run internet traffic around the world.
EE, O2, Vodafone, Three and Airspan open the bidding
Worried about data privacy? Here are several ways to secure your Facebook account
The ICO is seeking an urgent warrant to investigate a major data breach - everything you need to know as the story continues to unfold