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Tim Berners-Lee: encryption cracking by spy agencies 'appalling and foolish'

Stashed in: Privacy does not exist., @timberners_lee, security, Wikileaks, Digital Age, digital privacy

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In contrast to several senior British politicians – including the prime minister, David Cameron – who have called for the Guardian to be investigated over reporting of the Snowden leaks, Berners-Lee sees the news organisation and Snowden as having acted in the public interest.

"Whistleblowers, and responsible media outlets that work with them, play an important role in society. We need powerful agencies to combat criminal activity online – but any powerful agency needs checks and balances and, based on recent revelations, it seems the current system of checks and balances has failed," he said.

He also criticised the cracking of encryption on ethical grounds: "Any democratic country has to take the high road; it has to live by its principles. I'm very sympathetic to attempts to increase security against organised crime, but you have to distinguish yourself from the criminal."

"Civilisation has to a certain extent depended on whistleblowers, and therefore you have to protect them," Berners-Lee said.

Is this the only issue in which both Tim Berners-Lee and Julian Assange agree?

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