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Police investigation into BT/Phorm dropped
Monday 22 September 2008 16:15:14 by John Hunt

City of London Police have decided not to pursue BT and Phorm over adware trials carried out last year citing implied consent. The Register uncovered the autumn 2006 trials of the Phorm system which was originally denied by BT, earlier this year. The Police were handed information about BT and Phorm from campaigners who protested at BT's annual shareholder meeting in July.

"The matter will not be investigated by the City of London Police as it has been decided that no Criminal Offence has been committed. One of the main reasons for this decision is the lack of Criminal Intent on behalf of BT and Phorm Inc in relation to the tests. It is also believed that there would have been a level of implied consent from BT's customers in relation to the tests, as the aim was to enhance their products."

"The matter is considered a civil dispute, and your desire to elicit clarity around the wording of the relevant acts would necessitate senior Counsel involvement and it is thought this would be inappropriate for Police to use public funds to pursue civil issues where there is no suggestion that Criminal Intent exists."

E-mail to Alex Hanff (anti-Phorm campaigner) from City of London Police

FIPR, the Foundation for Information Policy Research deemed the Police findings as "pathetic".

"City of London Police's response expresses massive disinterest in what occurred. Saying that BT customers gave implied consent is absurd. There was never any behaviour by BT customers that could be interpreted as implied consent because they were deliberately kept in the dark.

"As for the issue of whether there was criminal intent, well, they intended to intercept communications. That was the purpose of what they were doing. To say that there was no criminal intent is to misunderstand the legal requirements for criminal intent."

Nicholas Bohm, (Lead Counsel) FIPR

Hanff intends to make a complaint about the disappointing decision. It may be possible to pursue a case via the European Commission who are currently analysing the UK governments position on why the Information Commissioner's Office (who enforce privacy laws) did not take up a case against BT.

More information in the continuing Phorm saga can be found at The Register.

Comments

Posted by angelone over 8 years ago
Cue wails of anguish from the tinfoil hat brigade.
"Stitch up" "whitewash" etc..
Evenin all!
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
No surprises then from the imbalance of empowered public services.
Posted by carrot63 over 8 years ago
My already poor opinion of the police and their capabilities falls yet another notch.

"would have been a level of implied consent from BT's customers in relation to the tests, as the aim was to enhance their products."

That would be 'products' as opposed to 'profits'. I thought the police worked on evidence rather than optimistically worded press releases.

Rule of law? The police have clearly taken to their new role as the enforcement wing of our Corporate kleptocracy.
Posted by Royahoward over 8 years ago
Consent seems to be "implied" by any company to whom you do not actually say NO.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
The police wrapped it up shortly after the government gave phorm the green light, fairly big coincidence. I would love to know how they concluded there was consent.
Posted by cockney007 over 8 years ago
Did anyone seriously expect the police to do anything-to busy protecting the interests of big business and harassing motorists.
The idea of serving the interests of the general public was lost years ago.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
LMAO see what i said about the so called investigation here..... http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3680-city-of-london-police-looks-into-phorm.html
No doubt the real reason is it confused PC Plod lol
Posted by scragglymonk over 8 years ago
plod like the easy stuff, like putting scamera on fast road and seeing the cash flow to the coffers. Not trying to investigate pc crime shows the criminals that they can get away with it
Posted by Pigmaster over 8 years ago
"and it is thought this would be inappropriate for Police to use public funds to pursue civil issues where there is no suggestion that Criminal Intent exists."

So why did the Police come out during the Poll Tax demonstrations as the Poll Tax is a civil issue
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Quote"plod like the easy stuff, like putting scamera on fast road and seeing the cash flow to the coffers. Not trying to investigate pc crime shows the criminals that they can get away with it"

Well said :)

quote"So why did the Police come out during the Poll Tax demonstrations as the Poll Tax is a civil issue"

More to the point why do they go on or threaten to strike if wasting public money is a legal matter at all? Still lets hope the met atleast get a boot up the bum over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes unless they think 7 bullets to a skull should be civil also?
Posted by vwgolfman over 8 years ago
I'm surprised the plod have dropped the investigation as phorm may well show up their surfing habits. i.e. the viewing of pornographic material etc.
Posted by JDPower over 8 years ago
Well Mr Bohm from FIPR pretty much says all that needs to be said IMO
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