Berners-Lee 'wary' of all web tracking

17/03/2008

Senior researcher at MIT and so-called inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has condemned all variations of ecommerce-based web tracking that serves to target certain audiences based on their browsing habits.

His comments follow the debate over an internet ad platform developed by web technology company Phorm, whose clients include such companies as TalkTalk and Carphone Warehouse.

Mr Berners-Lee explained that this type of targeting could lead to information about a user's habits getting into the hands of unwanted parties and that instead, ISPs should have to comply with the same rules and regulations that any other utility company would.

Phorm touted its service as one that could create a 'gold standard' for user privacy and make more marketing more efficient for advertisers, publishers, internet service providers and others.

Mr Berners-Lee said a user's internet activity information was akin to a person's private property, however.

"It's mine – you can't have it. If you want to use [that data] for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree, I have to understand what I'm getting in return," he said.