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Prosecute BT Over Phorm?

Prosecute BT Over Phorm?

There’s been a storm in the UK recently over the testing of ad-serving technology Phorm, and the way it affects privacy. Now, security researcher Richard Clayton has called for British Telecom (BT) to be prosecuted after leaked documents have revealed it trialed the Phorm system (then called 121Media) in 2006 without informing subscribers.

Since BT didn’t obtain permission from website owners or search companies either, Clayton is arguing that the company should be prosecuted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

According to ZDNet, the leaked document states:

"The trial involved approximately 18,000 users with a maximum 10,000 concurrently active on the system during the network’s peak period, and was operated on a 24/7 basis. All users were unaware they were participants in the trial."
Clayton told the BBC:

"This is not how we expect ISPs to treat their customers’ private communications. Since, not surprisingly, it is against the law of the land we must now expect to see a prosecution."

Privacy group the Foundation for Information Policy Research has argued that BT’s proposed test later this year of the Phorm system is illegal, but BT says it plans to go ahead, although BT has yet to announce a date.

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