While guest editing a special edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Tim Berners-Lee said he believed Edward Snowden had done the whole world a huge favor by leaking classified information about web and phone monitoring.
“When checks and balances break down, all society can rely on are the whistleblowers,” he said.
“And because they have been performing this important function of saving society when it is in its most desperate state, therefore we need, I think, to have a form of international recognition for whistleblowers,” Tim added.
Ever since Snowden blew the whistle on secret U.S. intelligence surveillance programs, spying at home and abroad, such as PRISM, Boundless Informant and XKeyscore, Obama’s administration has come under national and international criticism for violating constitutional rights, invasion of privacy and the sovereignty of foreign countries. It has often been debated whether what Snowden did was heroic or treason.
While not many have publicly criticized the whistleblower, a lot of prominent people have praised him for standing up against the mass espionage.
In July, founder of the controversial website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange congratulated Snowden for his efforts and called him a “hero” during a television interview.
“He is a hero," Assange said. “He has told the people of the world and the United States that there is mass unlawful interception of their communications.”
The cofounder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales in November called on Barack Obama to restrain NSA snooping as he called Snowden "a hero" during an interview with Al Jazeera’s talk show Head to Head.