WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange recently warned that the Internet was the "greatest spying machine the world has ever seen."
Assange - who was addressing students at Cambridge University - also disputed the notion that the Internet (as a gestalt) encourages free speech and supports human rights.
"While the Internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen," he said.
"It [the web] is not a technology that favors freedom of speech. It is not a technology that favors human rights. It is not a technology that favors civil life. Rather it is a technology that can be used to set up a totalitarian spying regime, the likes of which we have never seen."
Nevertheless, Assange emphasized the Internet could still be used to promote democracy and freedom.
"On the other hand, taken by us, taken by activists, and taken by all those who want a different trajectory for the technological world, it can be something we all hope for."
[Via The Guardian]