Phorm's internet-tracking service 'illegal' claim academics


phorm.jpgWorried that your ISP will track your every move for advertising purposes? You’re not the only one. Indeed, a group of academics claims the new Phorm service is illegal.

Phorm is a BT, Virgin and Talk Talk-supported service that will track your web behaviour over a period of time, serving ‘appropriate’ ads based on your interests. But there is growing opposition to the technology. The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a group of Cambridge academics, claims the service infringed users’ privacy. And it has called in the Information Commissioner, (who is due to publish a report on the subject in a couple of weeks), to condemn it.

The FIPR believes that gathering information about website visits without the user’s consent amounted to a breach of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which prevents unlawful interceptions of communications. In a statement, it said: “Users should have to opt in to such a system, not merely be given an opportunity to opt out. Failure to establish a clear and transparent ‘opt-in’ system is likely to render the entire process illegal and open to challenge in UK and European courts.”

Despite that, BT plans to trial the service this month. You have been warned.

Phorm(via The Times)

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