Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yet another United Kingdom privacy issue (Phorm)

The United Kingdom has come under a lot of criticism in recent years for their alleged intrusive behavior, often from North Americans who find differences between the privacy rules in our countries and the relative lack of privacy in the United Kingdom.

Well, now the United Kingdom has gotten in trouble with the European Union over its lack of privacy.

As stated in this - oh, heck, it's an AP article. Well, forget that. Let's look at the Telegraph:

The European Commission has accused the British government of failing to enforce EU data privacy laws over the introduction of new internet advertising technology, Phorm.

The commission said trials carried out by telecoms major BT of the technology, which tracks internet users web habits to send them tailor-made advertisements, could have broken European privacy rules because BT did not seek its customers' consent.

More here. Phorm's website is here. And the New York Times subsequently posted its own non-AP article here:

The case could become a test for the limits of ads that target online behavior. Supporters of the practice say it has the potential to transform advertising by allowing marketers to show Internet users only ads that are considered relevant to them, based on their surfing habits.

But the technique has come under scrutiny amid concern that personal privacy could be violated as companies seek more specific data on individual users.
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