Page last updated at 23:32 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 00:32 UK

Web creator job 'beyond politics'

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been asked to open up access to government data

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has told the BBC that the job he has been given by Gordon Brown is an important one that goes beyond party politics.

The inventor of the world wide web has been asked by the prime minister to help open up access to government data.

"I think there's a public demand for transparency. This is way beyond party politics and beyond global borders," Sir Tim said.

He said taxpayers' money paid for the data so it should be available to them.

Public demand

The Prime Minister told MPs on Wednesday that he was asking the creator of the web "to help us drive the opening up of access to Government data in the web over the coming months."

Speaking from Boston in the United States, where he is based, Sir Tim told the BBC that he saw a growing public demand for access to government data.

I fear Sir Tim may be in for a bruising few months, as he tries to convince Sir Humphrey et al to let it all hang out
Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC technology correspondent

"This is our data, this is our taxpayers' money which has created this data so I would like to be able to see it please," he said.

Campaigners have pressed for a wide range of public data, from mapping information to MPs' expenses, to be made available on the web.

Sir Tim refused to be specific about which items of data he would help make public, but said he was interested in suggestions from bloggers about what they would like to see.

Last weekend, Sir Alan Sugar was appointed as Competitiveness Czar by Mr Brown.

Asked whether he was concerned that he might be among a number of public figures used as window-dressing by the government, Sir Tim said: "I am not comparing myself with Sir Alan Sugar in any way, in any dimension."

He stressed that he had campaigned for some time for more transparency of data on the web.

He also explained he had recently given a speech about the subject in California: "I had the audience chanting 'raw data now!' about government data. This is an important thing to be involved, independent of the politics of the moment."

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