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Crown Prosecution Service Delays Ruling on BT and Phorm UK Privacy Invasions

Posted: 15th Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
lawphorm logoThe Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has once again delayed plans to rule on whether or not to charge either Phorm and or BT over the broadband ISPs secret 2006/2007 trials of Phorm's technology, which tracked customers private website visits (not unlike Spyware) for use in targeted advertising campaigns; this was done without end-users consent.

Privacy campaigner Alexander Hanff (PI / NoDPI) had originally begun pushing for the CPS to investigate at the end of 2008. This followed a decision by the City of London Police (CoLP) not to pursue BT's secret trials. The CoLP originally stated that such an investigation would have been too costly, too complex and those taking part in the trials were curiously deemed to have given their implied consent (here).

CPS Letter to Alexander Hanff

Dear Mr. Hanff

Re: Consent to Prosecute Alleged Offences under Section 1 of the Regulations of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

I last wrote to you on 26th November 2010 in which I said that I considered it more realistic to suggest that a decision would be made by mid-December. The whole case is under consideration at a senior level and I do not consider that a decision will be made by mid-December. I thought it best to tell you straightaway. A decision will be made as soon as possible and either I or another person on behalf of the CPS will write to you.

I am sorry if I raised your hopes in my earlier letter but at the time that I wrote to you I genuinly thought that the CPS would be in a position to make a decision by the provisional date I gave you. That has not proved possible and very careful consideration of this matter continues.

Yours Sincerely,

****** *****
Special Caseworker Lawyer

It's understood that the CPS also instructed the same detective who looked at the original CoLP complaint, DS Barry Murray, to investigate the case against Phorm. A decision had originally been expected in November 2010 (here), although this was later delayed to Mid-December 2010. It's now unlikely to happen until sometime next year.
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