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Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Miller joined a protest, held outside BT's annual general meeting in the Barbican Centre, London, on Wednesday, against the 2006 and 2007 trials of the ad-serving technology Phorm.
Miller was protesting against what she characterised as "illegal" trials of the technology, which were performed without gaining BT customers' consent. There were around 15 people involved in the protest.
"The fact is BT conducted illegal trials," Miller told ZDNet.co.uk. "They intercepted people's communications without their consent. That can't be any more legal than someone slitting open a letter addressed to me and reading the contents."
Although both the Home Office and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have said they will not take action over the trials, Miller said that she will be asking questions in Parliament regarding the adequacy of data-protection laws.
"If the trials were not illegal, which they should be, it is because the law hasn't kept pace with technology," said Miller. "Is the government up to the job of regulating what's happening? Is the legislation out-of-date, or is it that the government isn't enforcing it properly? I'm very concerned that the government isn't on top of this issue. The buck stops with them to regulate what ISPs are doing."
Miller claimed targeted ad technology was unpopular with citizens in the UK. A New Media Age survey published on Wednesday found that 65 percent of UK adults would leave their ISP if it introduced targeted behavioural advertising.
Alexander Hanff, an IT specialist who organised the protest, said protesters were aiming to raise awareness among BT shareholders.
"We've been handing out flyers to shareholders," said Hanff. "These technology trials were wrong, illegal under British law, immoral and offensive. In order for the technology to be legal, there needs to be consent [from everybody involved]."