World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners Lee has waded into the debate on excessive spying by the UK and US by describing their encryption cracking activities as ‘appalling and foolish’.
Calling for a debate on internet surveillance Lee warned that such practices risk undermining efforts to tackle cybercrime and cyberwarfare.
Lee said: "Whistle-blowers, 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.”
Commenting specifically on the series of leaks emanating from former NSA employee Edward Snowden Lee said these had “…been in the public interest and uncovered many important issues which now need a full and frank public debate".
In response Lee is calling for a more robust system of checks and balances to be implemented by both GCHQ and the NSA in order to prevent such excesses in future.