EC drops UK Phorm infringement case

The European Commission has dropped a privacy infringement case against the UK government over BT trials of Phorm behavioural advertising.The government avoided Commission legal action by changing UK privacy legislation, the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

The European Commission has dropped a privacy infringement case against the UK government over BT trials of Phorm behavioural advertising.

The government avoided Commission legal action by changing UK privacy legislation, the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

"The European Commission has closed an infringement case against the UK in recognition that UK national legislation has now been changed to properly implement EU rules on ePrivacy and data protection on the confidentiality of communications such as email or internet browsing," said the statement.

The government took steps to amend the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) after European Commission pressure. The Commission referred the UK government Phorm case to the European Court of Justice in September 2010.

A number of UK public sector bodies, including the Crown Prosecution Service, Number 10, and the Information Commissioner's Office, declined to take action against BT for secret trials of Phorm behavioural advertising technology in 2006 and 2007. Phorm's Webwise technology intercepted the communications of around 18,000 BT subscribers.

Phorm technology intercepted users' web traffic to serve advertising based on browsing habits. Internet service providers Virgin Media and TalkTalk entered into discussions with Phorm over its technology.

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