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Home Office To Consult Over Changes To RIPA

The UK Home Office has issued a consultation over changes to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) after the European Commission threatened the government with legal action.

The move comes after a number of consumers and online privacy groups complained to the European Commission about BT's Phorm trials, that intercepted private user data for targeted advertising without asking users' consent.

The EC has called for the government to change its law, declaring that the UK's implementation of its data protection and online privacy laws were flawed.

The government's decision to issue a consultation over changes to the law has been criticised by privacy groups, which claim that the government should have allotted more time for consultation and is rushing into it fearing the EC's legal threat.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group (ORG), told IT Pro: “Yes, it's good the Home Office is doing something but it's clear they've acted at the last minute possible and only because they've been coerced.”

“They haven't publicised it probably because they want to rush a decision to meet the EU's deadlines. That's really not acceptable. Consultations are absolutely necessary,” he added.

The government has said that consultation period ends on 7 December 2010.