Feeds

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

Cheaper to store data publicly, says GLB

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.