Berners-Lee hired as gov internet adviser
Eminently sensible idea shock
The prime minister has appointed the inventor of the world wide web as the government's adviser on information delivery.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee will lead a panel of experts to advise the relevant Cabinet Office minister on how government can best use the internet to make non-personal public data as widely available as possible.
He will oversee work to create a single online point of access for government held public data and develop proposals to extend access to data from the wider public sector, including selecting and implementing common standards.
In addition, he will help drive the use of the internet to improve government consultation processes.
Announcing the appointment on 10 June, prime minister Gordon Brown: "So that government information is accessible and useful for the widest possible group of people, I have asked Sir Tim Berners-Lee who led the creation of the world wide web, to help us drive the opening up of access to government data in the web over the coming months."
Berners-Lee has been a proponent of better access to all forms of government and other data. In a talk to the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in March he said: "What you find if you deal with people in government departments is that they hug their database, hold it really close, so that they can build a beautiful website to present it.
"I would like to suggest: sure, make a beautiful website, but first, give us – all of us – the unadulterated data. We have to ask for raw data now."
Andrew Stott, the director of digital engagement at the Cabinet Office, commented that he was delighted to be working with Berners-Lee and his panel. "They will provide the expert challenge and insight we need to drive action across the public sector," he said.
This article was originally published at Kable.
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Data availabilty and accessability - when and where and how appropriate
Its not just getting robust systems of access in place but also the logistical mechanisms to handle sensitive data in an appropriate manner - and that includes blocking deductive linkages that could endanger decision making and the data subject too! I bet the protocols etc will not stop at non-personally identifiable data - that is if TBL is listened to at all., and can 'herd all the 'cats' with vested interests in this concept (working or not!)
TBL will bale out from this within a year or so as he realises that the civil service's immoveable object will trump his irresistible force.
Now that Purnell, Blears, Smith, Flynn, and all the other rats have jumped overboard there's lots of room in the government for high quality individuals like TBL. Sadly, however, whatever his input it will be laundered through the usual power wash and high speed spin cycle before it sees the light of day.
Do yourself a favour Tim, walk away now with your dignity and reputation still intact .