back to article Berners-Lee hired as gov internet adviser

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. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Yeah right...

    ...where's the sting, c'mon, surely EDS must have their grubby mitts in this somewhere, comeon there has to be a catch....

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Great, another adviser for the government to ignore.

    At least they chose the right man i suppose, but i can't help but feel that G.B. is trying to buoy himself up with "celebrities" Sugar first, now Berners-Lee. I predict that Andi Peters will be his next appointment, probably as an adviser on child welfare.

  3. David S
    Black Helicopters


    Assuming that his role isn't simply as a figurehead, does this mean that we're in danger of a Government-sponsored project actually delivering? Surely that's one of the early signs of the apocalypse...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    first !

    How surprising and utterly excellent.

  5. dunncha

    Another expert

    For the Government to copletely ignore when he comes up with words of wisdom that don't fit in with the governments plans.

    It will also stop him from publishing articles slagging the government off for snooping via the internet/phorm.

    Good luck Tim but I'm afraid you are backing a loser as come next election Labour are gone.

    Can I have a icon for Vote labour out.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly surprising

    This is just more window dressing. Brown is simply getting in the well known names to pacify the masses, first Alan Sugar now Tim Berners-Lee. There will probably be more to follow, maybe Joanna Lumley as advisor to the foreign office. I doubt he'll actually listen to any of them.

  7. NRT

    An appointment that's doomed to failure....

    Sir Tim doesn't have his own TV programme!


  8. bobbles31

    Seems like a good idea... they will have a plentiful source of good advice and common sense that they can ignore to the letter in order to placate the frothing masses that buy the Daily Mail on a (erm) daily basis.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Sir Berners-Lee

    Is this the same guy who thought it was a BAD idea to have images and text on the same page?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "give us – all of us – the unadulterated data" TBL not living in the real world here; cf other expert committees on the likes of drugs.

    it's a stunt along the lines of the suralan one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    10th June 2008?

    At last, some foresight from the govt.

  12. Ray0x6

    don't understand

    gov... uh... does not compute... divide by zero error/////

  13. northern monkey
    Thumb Up

    thank god!!

    Some common sense in realising that the web is not all about pretty sites that tell you sod all! The internet was a source of information well before CSS proliferated. Ok, so the animated gifs and marquee headings mightn't have looked attractive but did it matter?! So glad we've got a scientist on the case and not a web designer (in the standard sense).

    Let's all get back to web 0.1.8 (animated gifs and marquees were introduced in web 0.1.9)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't panic...

    1. They won't implement any of his recommendations.

    2. He will believe they mean what they say.

    Result: lots of press releases and no action. In other words, business as usual. I just hope they don't waste too much of TBL's time before he realises he isn't accomplishing anything.

  15. It wasnt me

    Its easy.

    "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."

    Pust it on a USB stick, then leave it on a train ?

    Or give it ot the Telegraph in a dossier marked expenses?

  16. Mike 85


    ...but will they do what they usually do, and ignore the experts when they say something that doesn't support what they want to do?

  17. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    That'll piss Ertugrul off.

    Die, Phorm, die.

  18. Graham Marsden

    Ok, but...

    ... now can TBL convince them that allowing multiple points of access to our *private* data is *NOT* a good thing?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Have Labour been....

    asleep for 11 years ?. All of a sudden they seem to be coming out with ideas that have talen them 11 years to think of. Perhaps they are worried they wont be able to spong of taxpayers much longer and will lose power in 2010 (I hope).

  20. Nick Davey

    I misread the article

    I read it as "advise the relevant Cabinet Office minister on how government can best use the internet to make personal public data as widely available as possible."

    Which is probably a lot closer to the reality...

  21. Tom 7 Silver badge

    But he's not cost them a fortune

    they only seem to listen to those that waste money..

    What went wrong with that NHS system we paid you 16Billion for?

    Give us the contract for fixing it and we will!

    OK here you are.

    So what went wrong?

    Just wait and see....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    non-personal public data

    let me guess, mp's expenses come under the category of pe4rsonal public data

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It won't work.

    The (un)civil servants will view it as an improper posting that a gaggle of aspirants have had their eyes on for several years and will probably be as supportive as they can be when feeling rather put out.

    Nonetheless, go for it dood!

    If one notices a rather under achievement though one might need to bring in a whole bunch of new blood.

  24. Cucumber C Face
    Paris Hilton

    And the functional requirements are...?

    >>best use the internet to make non-personal public data as widely available as possible<<

    Like all government IT projects there is NO business case. There is no defined or definable software requirement.

    It's merely another case of "we want nice fluffy things" - plus computers show how hip and committed to <bs>modernisation of Public Services</bs> we are - while we use computers to monitor the plebs.

    Paris - because Gordo will try to bring her in next as the sex education czar. And unlike TBL - she will have the sense to refuse.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the wager ...

    He'll suddenly become a firm advocate and proponent for Phorm? Its the usual pattern.

  26. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Let people have their *own* data


    The man is clearly a dangerous extremeist.

  27. elderlybloke
    Gates Halo

    Sugar and Tim Berners--Lee

    Tim is no match for Sugar .

    Sorry, I mean Sugar is no match for Tim.

    Sure Sugar has made millions , but so have drug dealers and other such types.

    If Tim had patented the WWW he would have made Bills Gates look like a pauper. ( I stole that one from somewhere)

    We all have much to thank Tim for. Life would be very different and not quite so wonderful

    All the knowledge, information news( and garbage) you could wish for

    I have never met Tim but I regard him as a friend.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Celebs as diversions

    Gordo really is getting desperate, hoping a bit of celeb glam from TBL and Sugar will obscure the indelible shit stain that coats (or perhaps IS) his entire government. Perhaps the sight of Joanna Lumley making one of his more odious ministers look as appealing as a used tampon stung a bit, and he's now going to co-opt anyone else with name recognition just so they can't spring out and make Shahid Malik look like a prat over his home cinema system, or Andy "a rating for every YouTube clip" Burnham look like an utter fucktard every time he opens his grotesquely pointless mouth.

    Well, there's plenty more celebs to go, so I wonder what's next on the cards? Ken Dodd doing a bit of fact finding at HMRC? Jordan as a special adviser on (over) inflation to "Wacky Al" Darling? Wayne Rooney's been abroad a few times, so perhaps he can help out at Charles st, at least on weekdays. A bit of a shame George Orwell's dead and gone, cos he'd be a perfect PR front for most home office shenanigans, and in his lunch hour could help the Met out with their "difficult" issues re presenting harassing photographers/black guys with Mercs as essential to counter terrorism.

    If he could wangle Sharon Stone as a personal adviser and got her to do that leg crossing thing every time he did a press conference, maybe no-one would notice that the country's fucked, broke and headed to hell in an express handbasket, and elect him and his crew of inept stalinists again next year.

    Paris, cos she'd never be Gordo's patsy.

  29. Dave Cheetham

    FREE Data, Get you copy now!

    The govenment have never had a problem getting our personal data out into the public domain, it's keeping it private and confidential that has been the BIG problem. Why hire a "big name" if not just for a publicity stunt. Another of Brown's attempts to keep his discredited government in power.

  30. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down


    So the government is opening up and wants more "openess" with it's citizens do they? OK so lets start by abolishing the data request tax, the £10 everytime you want to know about your details they hold. I paid my taxes already thanks!

    Lets start by booting C**t Ghoulie and his privacy-shagger, PHORM!

    Let's try to let someone else get ahead in the CCTV numbers game, see if UK can be pulled back from it's #1 spot!

    Let's get more transparency on dodgy government minister's deals conducted with BAE and the DTI, under the cloak of the ECGD!

    No, easier to pay lip service to the various demogrpahics, by getting trendy people into the gov's advice bureaus like Sugar and Berners-Lee! Quicker we boot Za-Nu-Labour, the better!

  31. Grozbat
    Thumb Up

    Too good to be true?

    It seems to me that Tim is talking about his Semantic Web blueprint, which aims to open raw data to internet access.

    If Tim gets a chance to implement the Semantic Web on government data, it will likely kickstart a global data revolution second only to the original Word Wide Web.

    That's a big if, of course.

  32. John 61

    Back to the future or more bureaucracy? Or both?

    Maybe this is a match made in Heaven.

    Webpages that meet XHTML and CSS standards look just like old (mind 1990's) websites without the CSS. A lot of the frilly stuff is now standard (such as fonts for example). A lot of websites don't meet these standards and those that do all seem to look the same. Giving the web away to corporates and advertisers is partially responsible for sites that don't meet these standards that Sir Tim advocates within the W3C. The problem is with these standards is that there is absoultely ton(ne)s and ton(ne)s of stuff that you should comply with and it will take years to read it all, whilst a lot of it is out of date. If you look at the old 4.01 is still there and CSS2.1 is going to be replaced by CSS3 etc. Websites have to be accessible to *everyone* regardless of disability/setup. There is too much going on and this continually changes, so folk just try to do what's best with what they've got. If that happens to be Notepad and IE on a Windows box, how are they going to test on a completely different setup? If you do meet the XHTML/CSS standards, it won't be too frilly. If your site is designed to look good in print (not too diffcult to do) it probably only needs to verify as HTML 3.2, which was around 1997.

    PS: John61 is good enough for me.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just great.

    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 .

  34. Anonymous Coward


    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.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    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!)

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