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Whose law is it anyway?

I returned to work today after a two-week vacation (lovely, thanks), only to find the European Commission had finally kicked off formal proceedings against the UK government over the BT/Phorm debacle (full story here). This would be what they call hitting the ground running.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

I returned to work today after a two-week vacation (lovely, thanks), only to find the European Commission had finally kicked off formal proceedings against the UK government over the BT/Phorm debacle (full story here). This would be what they call hitting the ground running.

First port of call for comment: the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Nope, this one isn't ours, they said, because it's to do with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which is the Home Office's baby.

The ICO also sent us a statement in which it said it was responsible for "Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations", but "these infringement proceedings from the EU appear to relate to the interception of communications". Which is completely unrelated to privacy and electronic communications regulation, apparently.

OK, so to the Home Office we go. Fruitlessly so - according to them, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is responsible for this stuff. It is? But I thought the Home Office administered RIPA... never mind...

And BERR said: nothing, thus far (an hour and a half after the request).

Not that I've been passed from pillar to post or anything like that, but it's nice to see how joined-up government works. It's hardly surprising that the government didn't censure BT/Phorm over those secret trials - apparently it doesn't know which department would be responsible!

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