The web is a less free and open place than ever, its inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said.
Speaking at the launch of a report looking into the social impact of the web, Sir Tim said:
"In an increasingly unequal world the web can be a great leveller - but only if we hardwire the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, affordable access and net neutrality into the rules of the game."
"It's time to recognise the internet as a basic human right."
"That means guaranteeing affordable access for all, ensuring internet packets are delivered without commercial or political discrimination, and protecting the privacy and freedom of web users regardless of where they live."
The annual web index said that laws preventing mass snooping were inadequate or non-existent in 84% of countries.
The report measures the web's contribution to society around the world, with users in 86 countries surveyed and their countries then scored and ranked based on the freedom and openness of access, as well as the ability citizens have to freely express themselves on social, economic and political issues.
It also found that online action was increasingly leading to offline change, with campaigns and movements that begin online having greater impact on the streets than ever before, but net neutrality remains an issue alongside gender-based violence.
The UK came fourth on the list, with a Web Index score of 95.67%, ahead of the United States in fifth, with Denmark sitting first having scored 100%.
The Web Index also reported that users are at increasing risk of government surveillance, with laws stopping snooping either weak or non-existent in 84% of countries surveyed, up from 63% in 2013.
Censorship was also regarded as being on the rise, with moderate or extensive censorship seen in 38% of countries, up from 32% last yearSuggest a correction