[LINK] DPI "No Snooping"

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Apr 15 19:55:47 AEST 2009

> > By Tim Berners-Lee  Date: 2009/03/11
>  http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/NoSnooping.html
> No Snooping .. "In 2008, the UK by the company Phorm proposed to use
> data from deep packet inspection (DPI). (This) is equivalent to wire 
> tapping a phone, or opening sealed postal mail .."

Amazingly Fox News manages to publish this article mainly regarding Deep
Packet Inspection, without once mentioning it. Must be a record of sorts

"EU to sue Britain over Internet privacy"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 By AOIFE WHITE, AP Business Writer 

BRUSSELS —  The European Union started legal action against Britain on 
Tuesday for not applying EU data privacy rules that would restrict an 
Internet advertising tracker, called Phorm, from watching how users surf 
the web.

The European Commission said Britain should outlaw Internet traffic 
interception and monitoring unless users give explicit consent that their 
behavior can be tracked and analyzed.

It said it had received numerous complaints about BT Group PLC, which 
tested Phorm in 2006 and 2007 without informing customers involved in the 

Phorm analyzes Internet users' behavior so it can target them with 
advertising that might appeal to them.

"Such a technology in the view of the European Commission and European 
data protection law can only be used with the prior consent of the user," 
said EU spokesman Martin Selmayr.

Regulators sent a first legal warning to Britain on Tuesday, asking it to 
explain or change the way it interprets EU rules, because it currently 
allows interception when it is unintentional or when a tracker 
has 'reasonable grounds' to believe that consent was given.

Britain has two months to reply. The European Commission can issue more 
warnings before it can take a government before an EU court, where it may 
be ordered to change national law or face daily fines.

BT sought consent from users when it again tried out Phorm from October 
to December 2008 in an invitation-only trial. 

The company says on its Web site that the trial didn't keep or pass on 
information that could identify users and what they did. It gave no 
comment on Tuesday on the EU statement.

Internet companies, privacy advocates and regulators disagree on what 
kind of traffic data is personal _ such as IP addresses that give a 
location _ and whether storing information on a crowd of people might 
evade strict privacy rules because they cannot be identified individually.

Phorm plans to work with three Internet operators reaching 70 percent of 
Britain's broadband market _ BT Group PLC, Virgin Media Inc. and Carphone 
Warehouse Group PLC's TalkTalk. 

Virgin and TalkTalk said they wanted to try out the technology but would 
do so only with users' consent.

Phorm said in a statement that its technology did not store personal data 
or browsing history and was "fully compliant with UK legislation and 
relevant EU directives." 

It said it did not expect that the EU action against Britain would have 
any impact on its plans.

"In anticipation of any changes that may be made to the law in future, 
our system offers unmissable notice and clear and persistent choice to 
consumers," it said.

Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, which is charged with 
protecting personal information in the country, said it could not comment 
on the EU move.

Separately, EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said that social 
networking sites needed to move fast to step up default privacy settings, 
especially for younger users _ and she would table new EU rules if sites 
didn't act.

"Is every social networker really aware that technically, all pictures 
and information uploaded on social networking profiles can be accessed 
and used by anyone on the web?" she asked in a video message.

"Do we not cross the border of the acceptable when, for example, the 
pictures of the Winnenden school shooting victims in Germany are used by 
commercial publications just to increase sales?"

She also warned about radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags that 
can be used as an electronic label on clothing or food to pass on 
information such as expiry dates or prices to a store cashier or stock 

"No European should carry a chip in one of their possessions without 
being informed precisely what they are used for, with the choice to 
remove or switch it off at any time," she said.

Stores and other smart tag users complain that some of these requirements 
to inform customers or switch off the tags could be burdensome, 
unnecessary and might prevent them from investing in the new technology.

On The Net:

EU video message on data privacy: 

> Roger writes,
> > The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has published
> > a Collection of 16 papers by 'Industry Experts' on Deep Packet 
> > Inspection: <http://dpi.priv.gc.ca>
> Cheers Roger
> Stephen Loosley
> Victoria, Australia

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