Tim Berners-Lee Condemns Online Privacy Invasion

The father of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, issued a stark warning about the looming threat of online snooping solutions which could endanger the very fabric of the web as we know it.

Berners-Lee made the comments during a debate organised by the privacy group NoDPI.org which took held at the UK’s Houses of Parliament and was particularly hostile to the concept of deep packet inspection or DPI.

He went as far as to say that Britain could fall victim to "blackmail and terrorist attack" from "unscrupulous organisations who could gain access to records showing internet users' browsing habits."

He was squarely pointing his fingers to Phorm, the behavioural advertising solution that many of the UK ISPs have either rolled out or are planning to do in the next few years.

BT is set to be the first broadband provider to use the technology which ironically will be marketed as a way to prevent spyware and other malware from invading your privacy.

Sir Tim said that such solutions were "akin to opening our private mail or putting cameras in our living rooms" and called for laws to be voted to protect a person's privacy to ensure that "sensitive" data is not sold for profit.

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Our Comments

It is ironic that Berners-Lee comments came on the day that Google announced that it was adopting interest-based advertising worldwide. This essentially means that the biggest online advertiser has endorsed behavioural targeting. The current economic conditions mean that advertisers want networks and content providers to work extra hard for their hard earned cash.

Related Links

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Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament

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Berners-Lee Warns Against ISP-Based Ad Targeting

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