Tim Berners-Lee has warned that snooping spooks are destroying the free spirit of the internet.
He said a "growing tide of surveillance and censorship" was drowning the democratic nature of the web.
Sir Tim was speaking at the launch of the World Wide Web Foundation's annual web index report, which analyses the web's "contribution to development and human rights globally".
Sweden comes top, followed by Norway, while the UK is third place and the US in fourth.
"One of the most encouraging findings of this year's web index is how the web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organise, take action and try to expose wrongdoing in every region of the world," he said.
"But some governments are threatened by this, and a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy."
The report found that "moderate to extensive blocking or filtering of politically sensitive content" took place in more than 30 percent of nations during the past year.
It also found that "legal limits on government snooping online urgently need review". Some 94% of countries in the Web Index do not meet "best practice standards for checks and balances on government interception of electronic communications".
Berners-Lee recently said NSA surveillance was "appalling and foolish". ®