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

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 example, and the seemingly doomed 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 …


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  1. Turtle

    Who really cares...?

    Oh, isn't this the guy who invented the web? And didn't bother put ANY security or authentication procedures in it?

    I wonder who thinks that his opinion is worth listening to? After all, a person can not have less foresight than he does.

    1. M7S

      @ Turtle

      And while you're at it, you should have a pop at Herr Benz and Mr. Ford for not putting ABS and Seat Belts in their early cars.


    2. RJ


      I was going to go into detail about why security wasn't needed or even envisioned to be needed back then (hint; it is the same reason email spam exists so easily) but I think I would be wasting valuable neurons.

      So I shall just sum it up by saying:

      A) that "the web" as it was back then is not "the web" we have now

      B) You are a berk.

  2. Nigel 11

    Open-source analogy

    open-source code tens to be reliable, because with lots of eyeballs, there's nowhere for the bugs to hide.

    Open-data government ought to be less corrupt and less inefficient, because with lots of eyeballs, there's nowhere for the buggers to hide.

  3. Cucumber C Face
    Thumb Down

    Tim Berner-Lee's free lunch

    It may be "more expensive to store [data] somewhere private" if all you're doing is sticking say an Oracle dump file somewhere on disc.

    However to actually publish data in usable form one has to re-format it. It will also need to be sliced and diced in ways one would not if it were just sitting on your local database. It also needs version control and/or updates too. Above all it must be documented.

    Then you need to set up a library and indexing system. (Google isn't going to help much with a few thousand gigabytes of delimited text files sitting on your Open.Gov FTP site).

    Not looking nearly so simple or cheap now is it?

    TBL is probably used to hordes of eager undergrads and PhD wallahs doing this for free in his World. Well the Civil Service isn't cheap labour and probably can't, aren't or won't be doing it anyway.

    So here's another rich vein to be tapped by the usual suspect management consultancy vampires. I'd like to be a bit more certain what benefit will accrue beyond another Government PR stunt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the info needs to be made available anyway

      Go look at - all they do is publish the raw data and data dictionary (definition). Slicing and dicing is left to the end user. Any well organised organisation should be doing this anyway for data they provide - the discussion is whether you do this publicly or privately.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Utter Tosh

    "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."

    No it's actually more expensive to store it in public, because some of it will be private and will required to be secured, therefore not only do you need to provide access control but you also need to classify and manage every item of data. Privacy breaches occur today where we try and store data privately - how many more mistakes would there be if the public option existed.

    Even stuff that is kept "in the public" still needs to be secured. The access control still needs to make sure the data is secured against tampering and deletion, against DDoS, and is resilient.

    Sorry Tim, failed on this one.

  5. David 141

    Needs more data

    From what I have seen these portals need some data that is more than just of passing interest.

    Like the complete financial records of every government ministry, department, and enterprise.

  6. b166er

    Title? erm...yeh

    The Register?! an Organ?!!!

    You must be swollen with pride

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