Tim Berners-Lee is calling for governments to do more to open up access to the data they collect.
Berners-Lee promotes data.gov.uk, the UK's government data portal which launched in January. It aims to get developers interested in creating applications to make better use of the information collected by the government.
So far it has been a little slow off the ground, although some applications have appeared - you can now use an iPhone application to find out how many people in your area have an ASBO, for instance.
He told the BBC that access to data should be considered a basic human right, although admittedly not one of the most important rights.
Berners-Lee said: "I think obviously there are more fundamental ones, but within a democratic society if the democracy is going to work you have to have an informed electorate," He said a neutral network and open data were especially important for developing countries.
He also claimed that a government's openness or lack of it influenced investment decisions. He believes that more open countries are more likely to attract investment. ®