Controversy Still Hampers Phorm Technology As Police Drops Investigation

The City of London Police have decided to drop their investigations into BT and Phorm over secret trials of the controversial ad-monitoring and tracking system last year, arguing that no criminal offence had taken place.

Although BT is clearly guilty of having trialled Phorm without informing its members, it was actually what the City of London Police spokesperson comments about why the case was not pursued that left people fuming.

They argued that "There was no criminal intent on behalf of BT and that there was implied consent because the service was going to benefit customers".

Whether the City of London statement was actually meant to say benefit BT is something that's open to discussion.

Now this opens the door to a number of potentially damaging cases whereby companies do a lot of bad while trying to do a little good; it could also open the floodgates for legal actions by BT (and other telcos) customers who may feel that their privacy has been invaded.

But worse of all, the law enforcement's decision could spawn other copycats with "spyware" being reclassified as "useful applications".

Phorm's Webwise, as it is known, is also being scrutinised by Virginmedia and no wonder that they will be following BT's case closely and unlike BT, they said that "We want to test the technology among some of our customers but we are not currently doing so and we will not conduct any such tests without individual customers' prior consent. Moreover, should Virgin Media eventually decide to roll out Webwise, customers will not be forced to use the system."

The European Union is still debating on whether Phorm is legal or not.

You can read our ongoing coverage of Phorm here.