Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Phorm saga

According to press release from Out-Law News, in the latest on the Phorm saga, the European Commission has issued proceedings against the UK over its implementation of the European Union Directives:

UK laws protecting the privacy of people's communications are inadequate, the European Commission has said. The Commission has launched a legal case against the UK over its implementation of European Union Directives.

The Commission's investigation was sparked by outrage over trials by BT of a system which monitors web use and tries to match advertising to people's perceived interests. The trials were done without BT customers' knowledge or permission. The Commission has investigated complaints made to it and to police and has found the UK's laws inadequate in protecting the privacy of communications. "The Commission has concerns that there are structural problems in the way the UK has implemented EU rules ensuring the confidentiality of communications," said a Commission statement. BT used technology made and promoted by Phorm to track users' online activity. It has since run trials in which it did ask users' permission. The Commission said that BT's trials have been the subject of complaints to privacy regulator the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and to police. The Commission believes that UK laws do not properly implement two Directives aimed at protecting privacy, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive and the Data Protection Directive.
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