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EU slams Britain over Phorm

In surveillance-happy Britain (scroll down), letting Internet providers install Phorm's tracking tools without customers' consent is just peachy.Not so for the E.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on

In surveillance-happy Britain (scroll down), letting Internet providers install Phorm's tracking tools without customers' consent is just peachy.

Not so for the E.U., as the Times reports. The European Commission on Tuesday threatened to sanction the UK for the practice.

“European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent,” Viviane Reding said.

The British information commissioner, Richard Thomas, found that Phorm's anonymous cookies and tracking of Web activities was adequately disconnected from individual users. The Open Rights Group had opposed the Phorming of Britain's Web and high-fived the Commissioner's report.

“What the U.K. government has done is lackeyed up to business and as a result we’ve been breaking E.U. law and now have this infraction proceeding as a result,” the executive director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, said.

Phorm is basically at the forefront of a test of the E.U.'s ability to dictate privacy policy. Simon Davies, the director of Privacy International in London, said the situation is close to a "total breakdown."

The E.U. has been attempting to require the U.K. government to produce a definitive statement on behavioral advertising for more than a year. But the U.K. government has refused to do that and now we have a total breakdown of regulatory oversight and the result is intransigence on the part of Britain.

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