Demand Your Data From Facebook: Berners-Lee

By Jennifer Moire 

The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, is voicing his protests to a similar proposal in the U.K., calling upon Facebook users to yank their personal data from the networking site.

Berners-Lee says Internet users should also demand all of their inaccessible data from Facebook, Google, and every other major website, according to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian.

The British law proposes that intelligence agencies observe every U.K. resident’s Internet use, including e-mail and social media, such as Facebook.

The controversial bill, known overseas as “the snooping law,” would be a “destruction of human rights,” Berners-Lee said today. He added:

The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing.You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites … or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.

His remarks come just as another cybersecurity bill is being taken up this week in the U.S. Congress. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is expected to be voted on this week, despite mounting pressure from grassroots activists to defeat the bill because of its overly broad definition of what type of information can be shared with the government.

While industry support has been somewhat muted, Facebook’s Washington, D.C. Vice President of public policy Joel Kaplan wrote a post last week outlining the company’s support and willingness to work with legislators on shaping a more effective proposal.

Facebook has already added so many protections to personal data on its own (thanks to agreements with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission), we’re wondering whether CISPA will really have an impact.

Readers, do you think Tim Berners-Lee’s words will have an effect on privacy legislation and Facebook policy?