01 October 2010

EU - Commission takes UK to court over alleged privacy law failings

(OUT-LAW News)
The European Commission is taking the UK to court, claiming that UK law does not protect citizens' privacy as strongly as EU laws demand. The case centres on the UK Government's response to the Phorm web monitoring scandal. Phorm invented a technology for ISPs to use to track users' web use in order to serve them ads that were related to the recorded internet activity. ISP BT used this technology without telling users, which led to complaints to UK regulators and the Commission that this broke privacy laws. The Commission said that UK law failed to meet the requirements of EU directives in three respects. There is no independent national authority to supervise the interception of some communications; UK law authorises interception of communications not only where the persons concerned have consented to interception but also when the person intercepting the communications has 'reasonable grounds for believing' that consent to do so has been given; UK law prohibiting and providing sanctions in case of unlawful interception are limited to 'intentional' interception only, whereas EU law requires Member States to prohibit and to ensure sanctions against any unlawful interception regardless of whether committed intentionally or not.