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Tim Berners-Lee Warns of Danger of Chaos in Unprotected Public Data

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Hackers could use open data such as the information that powers transport apps to create chaos, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has said. An anonymous reader shares a report on The Guardian: "If you disrupted traffic data for example, to tell everybody that all the roads south of the river are closed, so everybody would go north of the river, that would gridlock you [and] disable the city," he said. Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt, a co-founder, with Berners-Lee, of the Open Data Institute (ODI), described this as "the Italian Job scenario" and "the ultimate hack". The pair, who have both advised the British government, are leading campaigners for publicly accessible data. Berners-Lee points out as an example that reliable, detailed transport information "really makes London better". But they warned that the potential for such datasets to be tampered with if not properly protected was largely overlooked. "When people are thinking about the security of their systems, they worry about people discovering what they are doing," Berners-Lee said. "What they don't think about is the possibility of things being changed."

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