Web users 'need protection from tracking'Web creator issues privacy warning

17 March 2008

The man dubbed the 'Father of the Web' has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet, it was reported today.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, has said he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system.

In an interview with the BBC, Sir Tim said he did not want his internet service provider (ISP) to track which websites he visited.

Beacon

'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,' he said.

His remarks come after the social networking website Facebook was widely criticised after it introduced a system called Beacon which sends data from external websites to Facebook.

The company changed the way Beacon operated after an uproar from customers over privacy so that users now have to opt in to it.

Facebook

Sir Tim also told the BBC that the spread of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace was a good example of increasing involvement in the web.

But he warned young people about putting personal data on these sites.

He said: 'Imagine that everything you are typing is being read by the person you are applying to for your first job.

'Imagine that it's all going to be seen by your parents and your grandparents and your grandchildren as well.'

His remarks were made on a short visit to Britain from his base at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States to promote a new effort to study the Web and its future.

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