European Commission Sues UK Government Over Phorm

The European Commission has taken the UK government to court over the authorities inability to deal effectively with privacy issues, highlighted by the case of Phorm, the behavioural advertising technology that BT secretly tested on its customers.

More specifically, the UK government will stand trial for not providing enough safeguards to protect its citizens privacy either through more stringent data protection and privacy laws or otherwise.

The European Court of Justice has already been referred the case by the EC who argues that British consumers should be provided to have an independent body to oversee the interception of communications.

The EC said in a statement that it "considers that existing UK law governing the confidentiality of electronic communications is in breach of the UK’s obligations under the ePrivacy Directive and the Data Protection Directive."

The EU investigation comes after UK citizens and privacy groups like the Open Rights Group complained about being unknowingly enrolled in Phorm in an opt-out (rather than opt-in) scheme.

A spokesperson for the UK Home Office said that the government was "planning to make changes to address the Commission's concerns and will be setting out more detail on any necessary amendments or legislation in due course".

The EC didn't say whether the UK would be risking a fine and if yes, how much it would amount to.