I blogged the other day that there might be an interesting conflict of interest in Lord Carter’s office (Why Lord Carter is pro-Phorm?). Lord Carter of course wrote the Digital Britain report, and is a bit of a mover and shaker in Government circles when it comes to digital issues such as broadband rollout (remember Phorm claim their technology will help fund broadband expansion). The news revolved around the fact that among other activities, Phorm’s Kip Meeks works as an advisor to Lord Carter.
Chris Williams of The Register has been digging (The Register – Phorm director advises UK.gov broadband minister):
A member of Phorm’s board also works as a taxpayer-funded broker at the heart of UK internet policy, in the very department tasked this week with responding to European Commission demands to tighten privacy laws.
Kip Meek defended his dual role today, insisting his job for the Digital Britain review was completely separate to any dispute between the UK government and Brussels.
Furthermore, Williams notes:
Carter and Meek also worked together at Ofcom, where the former was chief executive and the latter was a senior partner tipped for the succession.
Carter and Meek worked on the UK’s correspondence with the EC over the covert BT-Phorm trials. The Register have tried to obtain the Government’s response via FOI requests, but failed. Nonetheless it’s known that someoen at BT was given a verbal report on the response.
It’s worth reading nodpi.org’s take on this story (Kip Meek in the spotlight).
It has certainly been a phun and Phorm-filled week, with the EC announcment, Amazon confirming all its domains will be opted-out of the Phorm data harvesting, and now two conflicts of interest under discussion (Simon Davies of 80/20 Thinking and Privacy International and now Kip Meek of BERR and Phorm). Some seriously odd and interesting working practices going on.