Feeds

Virgin Media battles privacy campaigners on P2P monitoring

No one's looking at you, alright?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Regulators are mulling assurances from Virgin Media that its planned trial system to monitor the level of illegal filesharing on its network will not harm customers' privacy.

"We've been engaging with all the relevant bodies, including Ofcom, the ICO and the EC, to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed judgement about our planned trial," the firm said.

A spokesman refused to confirm it was also speaking to the Home Office, which advises on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the legislation governing interception of communications. Virgin Media wants to introduce CView, a system developed by Detica to measure music copyright infringment via peer-to-peer protocols.

The system has already been criticised by privacy camapaigners, who have complained to the European Commission about the technology.

CView relies on Deep Packet Inspection technology, looking inside BitTorrent, Gnutella and eDonkey traffic to determine if it carries unlicensed music by comparing it to a database of "acoustic fingerprints". The way it exposes the content of traffic to processing has led to comoparisons with the targeted advertising technology controversially developed by Phorm (Virgin Media was one of Phorm's prospective ISP partners before it effectively pulled out of the UK market).

Virgin Media and Detica have emphasised in submissions to regulators that CView cannot identify customers or store data, and are not proceeding with a trial until it has the all clear. The pair, who together announced their intention to trial CView in December, say no data about individual customers will be collected. Instead, they argue, it will simply enable them to accurately guage the effect of the government's Digital Economy Bill proposals to reduce the overall level of illegal filesharing.

"Once deployed, CView will only offer a non-intrusive solution to enhance the understanding of aggregate customer behaviour; it will not be used for any other purpose," Virgin Media and Detica told regulators.

"In particular, none of the traffic data collected could ever be used to identify or be attributed back to a customer and, consequently, cannot be used to take any action against a customer."

It's planned that the CView trial will mean the traffic of about 40 per cent of Virgin Media customers will be monitored for illegal music sharing, but those involved won't be told.

Privacy International, the lobby group, has said it plans a criminal complaint under RIPA once the trial begins. ®

Bootnote

Virgin Media gave The Register a copy of one of its regulatory submissions. You can read it here (pdf).

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?