back to article Tim Berners-Lee says privacy needs fixing – and calls for 'algorithmic transparency'

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has penned a 28th-birthday letter for his creation in which he identifies three trends he thinks are harming the web, and explains how the Web Foundation that he heads will seek to implement his ideas. Berners-Lee looks upon his works and is mostly satisfied with how they …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Control of personal data"

    "Berners-Lee thinks we don't have it any more and that's a bad thing because “As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it."

    Good luck with that! Facebook / Google / Microsoft / Uber make up their own rules / write their own laws. Plus Google had exclusive access to No 10 / POTUS... Big Tech won't yield the nice juicy data in their silos - ever:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage#img-1

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/02/google-microsoft-pact-antitrust-surveillance-capitalism

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/30/technology/facebook-mood-experiment/index.html

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: "Control of personal data"

      There's an important difference between personal data and aggregate data.

      If you're Google, you can still make a shedload of money off aggregate data, without needing to sit on all that personal data.

      Now, of course you can make even more money if you exploit both kinds at once - and hence that's what people do, because stockholder value. But there's no reason why the companies should starve, if they're restricted to just the aggregate stuff.

      The people who would starve would be the fucktards who target fake news to people preconditioned to believe it. And that would be a shame, because if they starve we can't stake them spreadeagled over a termite mound covered in jelly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Control of personal data"

      Those are all Yankee companies.

      I have full faith that in time, European law will rise to the challenge of regulating them, and brining European citizen's data back under the rule of law.

      Privacy is more central to the European psyche, than gun ownership is to yanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Control of personal data"

        >Privacy is more central to the European psyche, than gun ownership is to yanks.

        Doesn't help us in the UK much longer though...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Control of personal data"

          "Doesn't help us in the UK much longer though..."

          That depends on how much of an economy we want to have post-Brexit. ATM May isn't very much concerned about that but it's likely to become a straight fight between her and people who'd really like jobs in the future.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Control of personal data"

        "Privacy is more central to the European psyche, than gun ownership is to yanks."

        European sensitivities about privacy have been stimulated by the past repressive actions of various governments small and large over several centuries. The knowledge and experience of those conditions is gradually being forgotten - and the cycle is starting to be repeated.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I have full faith that in time"

        It took a student Max Schrems to highlight the lack of protections for EU citizens. Even if Europe gets its own 'EU only' Data Centers along with huge penalties for US infringement, the USA doesn't care. Paying large fines is built into the American business model!

        Look at the Vizio Smart TV scandal: 2 million fine, but Vizio sold for 2 billion! There's no means to respect privacy of Americans vs. Non-Americans. That's why the CIA / NSA hoover everything!

        So wakey wakey @AC! Even if data never leaves the EU in the future, we have only America's word that past slurps will be unbundled from a highly distributed incredibly complex Ad / Broker system. Even then, we have only the word of liars like Google / Facebook / Uber etc, who are experts at living lawlessly and settling on court steps / paying politicians off...

        Plus even then, look at Yahoo. Even if they were forced to delete every bit of slurped personal info from their data silos, parties have already sucked the corporation dry 3 times over. Who has that data now? Who knows: Hackers / Cybercrims / State Agencies...

        By the time any change happens it'll be too late. Genie / bottle etc. Good luck with that! Any info users put online now is there forever. Max Schrems showed us that: Facebook never delete anything. Not a single post or photograph gets deleted! Most other US data-suckers are exactly the same. Look at Uber / Google etc.

    3. evilhippo

      Re: "Control of personal data"

      "Good luck with that! Facebook / Google / Microsoft / Uber make up their own rules / write their own laws"

      And that is as it should be. If you don't like those companies, don't use their services (I only use Uber in that list).

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: "Control of personal data"

        And that is as it should be. If you don't like those companies, don't use their services (I only use Uber in that list).

        If it only was that simple. However it is not always up to you. For example: I don't use WhatsApp, but if anyone, who has my contact details in their phone does, my information ends up in WhatsApp's trove. I don't get a choice, or get asked if I allow that.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "Control of personal data"

      "Good luck with that!"

      If you're based in the EU or wish to do business with the EU maybe it's you who might need good luck in the near future. Either luck or a serious consideration of the GDPR. The alternatives could be expensive.

  2. EscalatingEris

    "We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is 'true' or not."

    Which translates to: "No need to create a Ministry of Truth - we'll just encouage Google and Facebook to do the job instead."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    12 months?

    TBL has only noticed the Web's privacy problems in the last 12 months? More like 12 years, at least.

    Why did he give his blessing to EME (HTML5 DRM) if he cares about privacy?

    Now he proposes to fix it with "Solid"... surprise, it's his own pet project, built on his own crappy WWW technology.

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