Latest Issue

Whitehall’s web revolution: the inside story

Prospect has uncovered the story behind Tim Berners-Lee's work deep inside British government, and his remarkable success at busting open a closed, data-hugging state

By James Crabtree   January 2010

Above: Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web

This story is now line for subscribers to read, while an exclusive interview with Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt is available to read free, here.

Before working as an editor at Prospect, I was briefly a civil servant. The experience taught me that most civil servants knew nothing about data, and the few that did were rarely listened to. Most were masters at prevarication when anyone tried to suggest that they open up vital information about schools, housing, health services, to the public; the crown jewel in Britain’s data…

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