Data could be useful to people
World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has encouraged internet users to insist that companies such as Google and Facebook allow them to access personal data held by the online giants.
Berners-Lee said he feels that if data collected by leading internet businesses was shared with people's personal computers, it could prove very useful to everyday life, as it records details such as exercise regimes, food eaten and places visited via various applications and status updates.
"One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't," he told national newspaper the Guardian. "There are no programmes that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use."
Plans by the government to monitor internet use have also worried Berners-Lee, who said such activity is a threat to human rights.
The web was created to be open
The British-born engineer and scientist, who wrote the original proposal for the internet's World Wide Web system in 1989, is now director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Internet technology already existed before WWW, but the new index linked information via hypertext in a way that meant people all over the planet could access and browse it freely.
Berners-Lee is concerned that many of the internet's modern features - such as the amassing of inaccessible data by Google and Facebook; and the use of closed apps by Apple - go against the web's initial principles of openness, sharing and choice.
Daniel Nolan, managing director of theEword, said: "Tim Berners-Lee is keen to point out that instead of using personal data for corporate gain, Google and similar companies could be using it to improve general quality of life - which was his original intention in devising the World Wide Web.
"If data was made available in a way that can be used effectively, it would undoubtedly benefit a lot of people."