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BT Admits to Second Secret Phorm Related Trial in 2006

Posted: 01st Apr, 2008 By: MarkJ
BT has admitted to conducting a second secret late-2006 121Media (Phorm) trial, which tracked and profiled up to 18,000 of its broadband customers without informing them. The news follows recent confirmation that the operator conducted a similar test during mid-2007 (news), again without customer consent.

Statement issued to The Register by BT:

BT can confirm that a small scale technical test of a prototype advertising platform took place for two weeks during September - October 2006. The purpose of the test was to evaluate the functional and technical performance of the platform. It is important for BT to ensure that before any new technologies are deployed, they are robust and fit for purpose. No personally identifiable information was processed, stored or disclosed during this test.

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), intercepting Internet traffic without a warrant or consent is considered an offence. Meanwhile the debate over Phorm continues to gain an increasing amount of disapproval, as can be seen in our news history (here).

To date only TalkTalk has confirmed its intention to adopt the more respectable "opt-in" method, while Virgin Media and BT continue to dither. Both providers will need to make some hard decisions soon or risk serious damage to their reputations and the possibility of more lost custom.
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