Latest Issue

Mash the state

Opening up public sector data is an old geek hobbyhorse. But could the man who invented the web reinvent British government?

By Tom Chatfield   February 2010

It all began with a lunch. Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the world wide web, was invited to Chequers in spring 2009. A government taskforce had just published a report aimed at making Britain a digital world leader and technological reform was in the air. Even so, Berners-Lee was surprised at what came next. “The prime minister asked me what Britain should do in order to make the best use of the internet,” he told Prospect in early January. “I said, you should put all your government data onto the web. And he said, let’s do it.” A month later,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect