About Me

I’m a senior editor at Vox.com. I write about technology, public policy, and the intersection of the two.

Note that I’m not related to Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Nor am I related to Timothy H. Lee of the Center for Individual Freedom.

Before joining Vox, I covered technology policy for the Washington Post. Before that, I wrote for Ars Technica and had a blog at Forbes. I’m also a former adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

I earned a master’s degree in computer science from Princeton University in 2010. I was advised by Ed Felten, the director of Princeton’s Center for IT Policy. I’m a co-creator of RECAP, a software project that helps users liberate documents from PACER, the federal judiciary’s paywalled website for public records. My studies were supported by a Humane Studies Fellowship.

I was born and raised in Minnesota. I graduated from the University of Minnesota, and then moved to Washington DC, where I met my wife, Amanda. I’ve spent time in St. Louis, Princeton, and Philadelphia. I now live with Amanda and our two cats in Washington DC.

I can be found on Facebook and Twitter. You can email me at contact@timothyblee.com.

19 Responses to About Me

  1. Stu Cohen says:

    When writing about any subject where your name may be confused with someone elses, IP issues on Megan’s page for example, I believe you have an obligation to clearly state, “Note that I’m not related to Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Nor am I related to Timothy H. Lee of the Center for Individual Freedom.” You should do this in your brief bio at the top, or at the least at the bottom of your articles.

    By neglecting this step you, intentionally or not, get a free ride on the reputation of others and confuse your readers. Just look at the comments on the IP article I mention above for proof.

    Failing to do so, does not help you in any way. Quite the contrary, when it is discovered, it causes a strong negative reaction towards you and reflects badly on your integrity, fairly or not.

    As you state in your Disclosure Statement, “…it would be hard to come up with a code of blogger ethics that would fit all of them. But one principle that seems valuable for almost everyone is disclosure.”

    You didn’t chose your name or theirs but, like it or not, you are stuck with those associations. As you demonstrate on your own web site, you are well aware of that fact. You must explain your identity as clearly in other venues as you do here.

    Warmest regards

  2. Tim Lee says:

    Hi Stu,

    I appreciate the comment, but we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I’m not trying to deceive anyone, but space in bylines is at a premium. I don’t, in fact, have the same name as Mr. Berners-Lee, and the confusion of my name with his is fairly rare. And frankly, I think the idea that it “reflects badly on my integrity” when I use my own name in published work is ridiculous.

  3. David Parker says:

    Hi Tim,
    I found your article on “Why Patent Lawyers Are Clueless . . .” to be very interesting. I have worked in the music copyright arena for over 25 years and see some very interesting comparisons. My chief disagree with your analysis is the statement
    “But even if he’s right, this is hardly a “small expense” for a typical software-producing firm. For example, one popular Silicon Valley startup funding organization, Y Combinator invests around $20,000 and expects that to be enough money for a new firm (typically two or three 20-somethings) to produce a working prototype over the course of a summer.”
    While I admit I have no experience with Silicon Valley startup funding organizations, I do have a great deal of experience with many business startups. I would never try to properly start up any business with just $20,000.00. It’s not even enough to open up a local neighborhood restaurant let alone develop software. From my point of view, that amount of money is just a recipe for disaster. I believe that this is one of the fundamental errors of business planning that takes place in “Silicon Valley.”
    What say you?

  4. Mark Chao says:

    I read your article, but it is “patently unfair” to blame the Patent Attorney. In reality, the attorney only interprets the laws as written by Congress, regulated by the Patent Office and tried by the Courts.

    If you want to be 100% fair, software companies/inventors hiding their heads in the sand by ignoring patents and patent law are doomed to suffer the adverse consequences that the existing patent laws provide. Patent attorneys cannot force software companies to do their due diligence. The Patent Office grants the patents, not patent attorneys.

    In my opinion, the patent attorneys do understand the software industry. A big part of the job is to educate and advise the inventors of their rights and limitations, and what consequences could occur if they do not take certain steps. Ultimately the decision to file a patent, do a freedom to operate search, or take any business action is in the hands of the client, and not the attorney.

    But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

  5. Anonymous says:


    Mark Ames is the last person in the world qualified to talk about “principles.”

    Breitbart did this about him:


    And I’ve had a personal feud with him. Pay special attention to the parts about having sex with 15-year-olds and his ex-associate accusing him of being a rapist:


  6. Pat2Win says:

    sorry, I put the comment regarding IV here, because it seems that one must be invited to comment at Tim’s post about IV.

  7. Peter OConnor says:

    You need to write about google fiber and its impact on corporate ISP (AT&T, Comcast). I can’t stand the idea of paying AT&T $149 install fee for a 6 month discount on a 6MBit u-verse internet. But i’d pay the google fiber $300 for a 5 year free internet connection.

    It’s just going to take google years to move from city to city. I wonder if AT&T or Comcast will offer any better deal then.


  8. bjkeefe says:

    Your link to your Cato work (“You can see my work for Cato here) is broken. If you didn’t already know.

  9. I like the helpful info you supply to your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and test again here regularly. I’m somewhat sure I’ll be told plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the following!

  10. MLarkento says:

    Use your name and ignore lazy readers who can’t be bothered to investigate your credentials.

  11. Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a really good article

  12. First of all I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Kudos!

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  17. Oh no! I won’t be able to make it and I am so sad! I actually want to go even so the girls are throwing me a planning away party that night at Angie’s. And that i need so much clothes for my new job. So bummed. Anyhow, have a blast and that i would go together with the dress its fab! XOXO

  18. Mr. Lee,

    Why are you so against patents?

    Our company has put a lot of money into speech recognition technology, and when some big company steals our inventions, the only recourse we will have is to sell our patents to a non-practicing entity; yet IP Offerings published a report that says that patents devalued by 37% in 2012, so we might not be left with much when a big company steals our ideas.

    Why are you against small tech startups with great technology ?


    Michael G. Smith
    Altorr Corp.

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