Social Business Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing, Chris is the cofounder of Successful Workplace. He believes there’s no end to what we can change and improve. Chris is a marketing executive and flew for the US Navy before finding a home in technology 17 years ago. An avid outdoorsman, Chris is also passionate about technology and innovation and speaks frequently about creating great business outcomes at industry events. As well as being a contributor for The TIBCO Blog, Chris contributes to the Harvard Business Review, Venture Beat, Forbes, and the PEX Network. Christopher is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 305 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Web founder thinks Internet surveillance is enormous threat to democracy

11.25.2013
| 1344 views |
  • submit to reddit

Last week, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, warned that the Internet is threatened by a growing tide of surveillance and censorship. In the Foundation’s annual Web Index Report, it was reported that, “…94% of countries in the Index do not meet best practice standards for checks and balances on government interception of electronic communications.” They also report that moderate to extensive blocking or filtering of politically sensitive content takes place in 30 percent of Index countries.

These are alarming statistics but the report also showed that social media is having a very positive effect. In 80% of the countries in the Index, the Web and social media played a role in public mobilization and half the time, were a major catalyst. The Web certainly cuts both ways.

The Web is a catalyst for change

No one doubts that the Internet has been a catalyst for change in the way people, business and government see each other. Just last year we watched the Arab Spring rely heavily on the Internet for its momentum and we saw the revelations made by Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance. We’ve watched businesses gradually become better and better at knowing who we are and personalizing the way they interact with us, but we’ve also watched bullying and other terrible behaviors enabled by the same medium.

The truth is that the Internet has had a profound effect in both good and bad ways. The table below is a simple version of what is in reality a complex and profound change brought on by the Web:

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 8.31.08 AMThe Internet will continue to disrupt people, business and government as its effects become more amplified with the spread of Web technology across a greater part of the world. Are we at a point where putting safeguards in place is necessary or should the Web continue to grow, spread and mature without outside interference? The Foundation thinks it is time to act and recommends the following:

  1. Reverse the rising tide of online censorship and surveillance.
  2. Make broadband affordable and accessible to all.
  3. Guarantee that all women, men, girls and boys can access essential information.
  4. Educate everyone on digital rights and skills.

These are the key questions of our times and will affect the majority of the planet over the next twenty years. Take the time to read the full report.

For other write ups on the theme of privacy, see:

Published at DZone with permission of Christopher Taylor, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)