The Register reports today (UK gets final warning over Phorm trials) that the UK Government has moved closer to Infringement proceedings over the Phorm phiasco.
The UK government today came a step closer to international embarrassment over its failure to act against BT and Phorm for their secret trials of mass internet snooping technology.
The European Commission said it had moved to the second stage of infringement proceedings after the trials, revealed by The Register, exposed failings in the UK’s implementation of privacy laws.
Apparently UK laws aren’t tough enough to comply with EU directives on privacy. In particular, it seems that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) allows snoopes to assume consent has been given merely by having “reasonable grounds for believing consent has been given”. Which is quite astonishing.
HMG is also admonished for not having an independent authority to look into and investigate complaints of unauthorised interception of communications. Furthermore the EU directive makes no distinction over whether the interception was intentional – RIPA only concerns such intentional interception.
On the one hand the whole furore has bounced Phorm out of the UK market, and from what I’ve read over at nodpi.org its been wrong-footed in the various overseas markets it is now focussed on. This together with its various ham-fisted attempts to smear its opposition has done Phorm no favours.
Now let’s the HMG wriggle out of this one. It is entirely in keeping with past form that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills chose to make no immediate comment.