Worldwide web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned the democratic benefits of the internet are under threat.
Speaking before the publication of his foundation's annual web index report, which tracks global censorship, he said that the democratic nature of the net is threatened by a "growing tide of surveillance and censorship".
The web index suggests that 30% of countries block or filter political content, and 94% of the countries in the index do not adequately monitor government internet interception.
The report concludes that the current legal framework on government snooping needs urgent review, the BBC reports.
Sir Tim said one of the most encouraging findings of this year's index is how the web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organise, take action and try to expose wrongdoing.
"But some governments are threatened by this, and a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy," he said
"Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online."
Sir Tim has been an outspoken critic of government surveillance following the revelations from whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
He described attempts by the spy agencies to crack encryption as "appalling and foolish".