Overreaction to terrorism by governments is a greater danger to civilisation than terrorism itself, the inventor of the worldwide web said in Oxford on Wednesday.
Tim Berners-Lee, 3Com Founders chair at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the World Wide Web Consortium, made the comments before speaking at the Europaeum 2001 Policy forum.
"It's very important that we don't react too strongly. The danger to civilisation is overreaction to terrorism," Professor Berners-Lee said.
The "father of the web" said that the curtailment of personal liberty by governments imposing rigid controls on the use of the internet would not combat the reality of terror.
"In a way, it's impossible to regulate the net. We have cryptography that is unbreakable and individuals can hide messages invisibly within images and other files," he said.
"The web can be used for good or evil but we need to encourage a diversity of cultures, of ideas and ways of thinking in the world. We must not have cultural groups that become so isolated that they hate the world.
"The dream is to secure global harmony and prevent war. It's important that people see this technology in this light."