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Countries should be judged on their willingness to open up public data to their citizens, the inventor of the world wide web has told the BBC.
He said "openness of data and the neutrality of the network" should be considered as important as free speech.
Open data could now be considered a basic right of citizens, he added.
"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 told the BBC.
He said this was of particular importance for developing countries.