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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,…

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