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Web Founder Issues 'snooping' Warning

By BBC News

March 13, 2009

Web pioneer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee says more protection is needed to prevent Internet snooping and ensure that sensitive data is not misused for commercial gain. "We must not snoop on the Internet," Berners-Lee says. "What is at stake is the integrity of the Internet as a communications medium." Berners-Lee was speaking at a meeting organized by the All Parliamentary Group on Communications, which included members of the British Parliament and various technology experts.

The meeting's participants are concerned that technology will enable firms to track what Web sites users visit and share that information with companies for "behavioral advertising." Privacy advocates say the practice is dangerous and that a new code of practice governing how users give consent is insufficient.

Berners-Lee says that people reveal very sensitive details in their searches, and that their privacy should not be infringed. Parliament member David Davis says a solution that protects privacy but does not cripple the usefulness of the Internet must be found. Davis says simple encryption of Web information could make a difference, though Web experts say simple encryption would be expensive and significantly reduce Internet speeds.

From BBC News
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