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EU Warns UK Over Data Protection Laws

The European Commission on Thursday issued the second phase of warning to the UK government over the manner in which it handled Phorm’s secret trials of its internet-based targeted advertising technology.

The EC’s officials noted that the UK government has so far failed to provide its citizens with proper privacy and data protection when it comes to using electronic communication.

The officials said they had already kicked off a second phase of legal action in order to make the government modify its online privacy and data protection framework along the lines of the EU rules and regulations.

Britain has so far been unsuccessful to comply with the EU rules to safeguard the secrecy of online communications, including internet surfing and emails, quoting loopholes in the country’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) passed back in the year 2000, according to the EU executives.

BT and Phorm surreptitiously tracked the web browsing habits of tens of thousands of the web users without their consent in their trials for targeted advertising technology in 2006 and 2007.

Even after a huge outcry over such a massive internet snooping, the issue wasn’t met satisfactorily by the UK government, as both the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office refused to take any action against the companies.

Viviane Reding, the EU’s telecoms commissioner, said: “Ensuring digital privacy is key for building trust in the internet. I therefore call on UK authorities to change their national laws to ensure that British citizens, benefit from safeguards set out in EU law concerning confidentiality of electronic communications”.