Feeds

Tim Berners-Lee: Coalition mustn't be 'lazy' on open data

Cheaper to store data publicly, says GLB

The essential guide to IT transformation

W3C The inventor of the World Wide Web told The Register today that it would be a great disappointment to see open data projects such as the data.gov.uk example, and the seemingly doomed data.gov version over in the US, closed in an effort to cut costs.

"What would be a shame would be if people use 'depend on money' as an excuse to be lazy and not be transparent," Sir Tim Berners-Lee told us at a W3C media event in Oxford.

However, he thinks that data.gov – which was recently flagged to be quietly wound down by the US government with the so-called Electronic Government Fund budget being cut from a proposed $35m to a small-fry $8m – will come under lots of pressure to keep it running.

"In today's world, if you can store something it's pretty much as easy to store something in public as it is in private," he argued.

Berners-Lee told the Reg that he hoped not to see the David Cameron-led Coalition follow the US's lead by reconsidering the value of the data.gov.uk project to help push down costs on this side of the Atlantic.

"If you store data in public, you don’t have to worry about security – it's actually more expensive to store it somewhere private because you have to set up access control. So the argument that it is more expensive to make something visible is a weak one; I hope we don’t start using such an excuse [in the UK]," he said.

"The transparency of spending is really powerful... The US doesn’t really have the equivalent," he said, but as we recently reported, a similar portal – the federal contract tracking site USASpending.gov – has been earmarked for the chop.

"I hope the UK doesn’t follow suit. Once they’ve gone there I don’t think the public will let them retreat from that."

TBL is opposed to the winding down of US data.gov and thinks it could be more dangerous and expensive to keep data locked away behind closed doors.

"When times are tight then maybe it becomes less of a luxury to keep in the dark what you’ve actually been doing with the accounts.

"Transparency of government through open data is just as important as it was before, and I would encourage members of the press and organs like The Register to keep pushing for it," he told us.

At today's event, Berners-Lee also spoke about how the internet should be held up to scrutiny at a high level.

"We should make the web optimum to support democracy," he said. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.