Free Speech Channel on YouTube has posted a new video interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee conducted by Timothy Garton Ash. In the interview Berners-Lee discusses “stretch friends,” open data, and the semantic web. According to the video description, “It is inappropriate to describe access to the internet as a human right, says Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web (45secs). However, he notes that the language of rights is often evoked for a worthy cause: to help bridge the gap between those that have access to the internet and those that do not. According to Berners-Lee, the dual threats of government filtering and spying vary on a country-by-country basis (11mins 50secs). ‘The most worrying thing of all is that you’ll end up with the two working together,’ he says. He adds that if governments empower internet service providers to collect data on users, the repository of information on individual’s web browsing activities could be ‘dynamite’.”

The description continues, “Berners-Lee questions whether deep pack inspection technology, which can be used by governments to monitor and censor internet traffic, should be ‘considered a munition’ and ‘controlled like a weapon of mass destruction’ (15mins 17secs). The director of the World Wide Web Consortium, who has given his backing to the launch of the UK’s Open Data Institute, says that mining public data, for example to help expose corruption, is the future of journalism (21mins 20secs). While language bubbles are a barrier online, he argues that cultural differences can be as much of an obstacle (32mins 45secs). His solution is for an internet that encourages ‘stretch friends’ – individuals outside of your circle of contacts, perhaps in other countries and from different backgrounds, to help break down barriers.”

Watch the complete interview here:

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Gulltaggen