Web founder makes online privacy plea

Apr 22, 2009
British software genius Tim Berners-Lee gives a speech during the 18th International World Wide Web Conference in Madrid. Berners-Lee said that plans by Internet service providers to deliver targeted adverts to consumers based on their Web searches threaten online privacy and should be opposed.

Plans by Internet service providers to deliver targeted adverts to consumers based on their Web searches threaten online privacy and should be opposed, the founder of the Web said Wednesday.

"I just want to know that when I click on a link it is between me and the Web, and the is not going to immediately characterise me in different categories for advertising or insurance of for government use," Tim Berners-Lee told a Web conference in Madrid.

"The postman does not open my mail, the telephone company does not listen to my telephone conversations. use is often more intimate than those things," he added.

New software called Webwise allows Internet service providers to show adverts to their clients based on their Web browsing habits instead of based on the content of a single Web page as currently happens.

Several British Internet service providers, including BT and Virgin Media, have said they are considering using the software, which is aimed at making the Web more financially profitable for advertisers.

With the help of other scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Berners-Lee set up the in 1989 to allow thousands of scientists around the world to stay in touch.

The WWW technology -- which simplifies the process of searching for information on the Internet -- was first made more widely available from 1991 after CERN was unable to ensure its development, and the organisation made a landmark decision two years later not to levy royalties.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 3

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Soylent
not rated yet Apr 22, 2009
"The postman does not open my mail, the telephone company does not listen to my telephone conversations."

I wouldn't be so sure of that. There was the warrantless wiretapping scandal recently in the US.

The swedish FRA(approximately defense's radio group) got legal permission to do warantless wiretapping on all telecommunications including internet and phones. It came to light that they had been operating under the principle that "the air is free" for many years, that includes spying on mobile phones, they openly admitted this was illegal under the european convention and under the swedish constitution and that's precisely why we needed to push through a law expressely making it legal with expanded authority for monitoring the internet!

Terrorists can attack a free and open society, but only government can abolish it.
laserdaveb
not rated yet Apr 22, 2009
i'm not so sure either...have you seen the commercial sprint is running where they list how many people are doing what at any one moment on the phone or internet? sends a chill down my spine every time every time i see it.
even scarier...there's a story on PBS outlining how the US gov constructed storage facilities next to each at&t telcom data center(around 13 accross the US)and store everything that passes through,that's all telcom-domestic and international. Boy am i cold...someone get me a flag...i need a blanket..
h0dges
not rated yet Apr 22, 2009
Web'wise' and Phorm can go to hell.

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