IN RESPONSE TO complaints of 'intrusion' from critics, the government has confirmed that new ad system conPhorms to EU data laws.
The controversy over the ad-serving system known more commonly as Phorm, began after exposure that the system had been tested by BT without the consent of users – thus intruding on their privacy.
Although the gov has said that this system conforms to EU standards – it has been made clear that any further deployment of the system must be done with consent only, giving those who wish to the choice to opt out.
In its statement sent to the EU the UK government said that, "Users will be presented with an unavoidable statement about the product and asked to exercise choice about whether to be involved. Users will be able to easily access information on how to change their mind at any point and are free to opt in or out of the scheme."
In response, a spokesman for the office of Information Commissioner Viviane Reding, which was called to clarify the legality of Phorm, said it was analysing the reply and preparing a legal assessment of the situation.
Commissioner Reding's request for more information was sent to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Berr) earlier this year.
Berr told the Beeb that it was not making the whole letter public but wanted to outline the main reasons why it considered Phorm to be legal,
"After conducting its enquiries with Phorm the UK authorities consider that Phorm's products are capable of being operated in a lawful, appropriate and transparent fashion," it said.
Phorm's legality is summed up by the fact that profiles are based on a unique ID rather than the identity of users, search terms are widely drawn thus concealing users' identity alongside the reality that Phorm does not keep any documentation of actual sites visits.
Even though this is true, it was still stressed that it be done "with the knowledge and agreement of the customer."
For this reason BT is cited as being in the wrong as this agreement was blatantly absent from the company's two trials.
Three different internet service providers have apparently shown initial interest in Phorm – however only BT has conducted any trials (even if they were wrongly done).
The boys in blue are following this up after a torrent of abuse from angry customers. µ
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