Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/16/eu_warns_uk_over_phorm/

EU tells UK to deal with Phorm - or else

The pre-warning letter

By Cade Metz

Posted in Broadband, 16th July 2008 19:05 GMT

The European Commission has sent a message to the British government, and it reads something like this: "If you don't deal with Phorm, we will."

Earlier this month, according to Dow Jones, the European Union commissioner for information society and media sent a "pre-warning letter" to UK authorities, voicing her concern over Phorm, the behavioral ad targeter poised to track user activity on Britain's three largest ISPs: BT, Carphone Warehouse, and Virgin Media.

BT has already conducted two trials with Phorm - and web surfers were not notified.

"It is very clear in E.U. directives that unless someone specifically gives authorization (to track consumer activity on the Web) then you don't have the right to do that," EU commissioner Viviane Reding said. If UK government does not deal with the issue, Dow Jones says, the EC could take action in the European Court of Justice.

In late May, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office said it would not go after BT for possible violations of the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). And the Home Office has also stayed put.

Meanwhile, 15,000 souls have signed an anti-Phorm e-petition on the 10 Downing Street web site. And earlier today, BT's Annual General Meeting was hit by a real live anti-Phorm protest.

You can read all our Phorm coverage here. ®