Tim Berners-Lee rejects net tracking

Read this interview yesterday on the BBC News Site, in which Sir Tim Berners-Lee voices his concern about the practice of tracking activity on the internet — with particular reference to Phorm, a Company that leading internet service providers are planning to use, which tracks users web activity in order to create personalised advertise. Tim explains some of the dangers of this …

“I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that’s not going to get to my insurance company and I’m going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5% because they’ve figured I’m looking at those books,”

and elaborates on this by explaining that as an individual his data and his web history belongs to him …

“It’s mine – you can’t have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree, I have to understand what I’m getting in return.”

Privacy concerns are never going to go away. The problem though is that most users don’t understand privacy and more often than not social networking sites, like Facebook, have tried to take advantage of this. As was the case recently when Facebook tried to introduce Beacon, another ad system which leveraged users activity. Facebook was subsequently forced to provide a mechanism for users to opt out of this after some pretty damning coverage in the media.

I think it’s a good thing that Tim has made his views public, perhaps others will now stop and reconsider some of their actions … you can watch the interview below