BT and Phorm are off the hook

The Crown Prosecution Service will not prosecute BT Group Inc and Phorm Inc for alleged unlawful interception of internet browsing data. Anonymised ISP data was used by Phorm to deliver tailored advertising to online users. This provoked controversy in 2006 when BT conducted a trial without the knowledge or permission of 18,000 of its customers. There was insufficient evidence to begin a prosecution and the CPS concluded it would not be in the public interest to proceed. It took into account that there was no evidence that either company had acted in bad faith and it could reasonably be argued there was a misunderstanding of their legal position. Phorm technology now requested the user’s consent, the data gathered in the trial had been anonymised and destroyed. A further occurrence was unlikely and the Information Commissioner’s Office had decided not to take action.

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