In the UK, phone giant BT is still being questioned about its use of customers’ data without their permission, during a trial of Phorm’s online ad targeting platform ‘Webwise’ back in 2006.
UK officials are currently being pressed by European privacy watchdogs to take action against BT over the secret test which involved 18,000 users over a two week period.
The European Commission has previously sent three requests to the UK authorities asking what they intend to do with regard to the tests, which it says potentially violated European sweep data privacy rules.
‘The Commission may have to proceed to formal action if the UK authorities do not provide a satisfactory response to the Commission’s concerns on the implementation of European law in the context of the Phorm case,’ a European Commission spokesperson said. The Commission made its most recent request for feedback last month, and an agency spokesperson said the group expects to receive an answer soon.
Phorm has offices in New York, London and Moscow, and works with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Publishers, Ad Networks and Advertisers to serve ads to subscribers based on their web-surfing histories.
BT and Phorm ran a legitimate trial of the WebWise monitoring and targeted advertising system in December, and the telecoms giant is currently assessing the findings before deciding whether to proceed to full rollout.
Web sites: www.bt.com and www.phorm.com