The following EU Commission letter is a response to my email which directed them to this post regarding the Phorm system which may be trialled by the UK internet service provider BT. The letter basically says that it’s not their job to regulate the UK rather it’s the job of the “competent national authorities” to deal with it, however competent they may or may not be. They refer to the Information Comissioners Office (ICO) and say that they “expect them to investigate any complaints raised with regard to the deployment of Phorm technology by ISPs.”
That at least is a step forward. At least some authority in the UK has been officially assigned the responsibility to take the complaints on board. When I made this complaint in June they were playing catch with the UK Home Office as to whose responsibility it was. The EU comission ends the letter with an encouraging;
The Commission is currently in contact with the UK authorities to clarify in particular the actions of the competent national authorities with regard to the users’ complaints about trials of Phorm technology by BT in 2006 and 2007, as well as the position of the UK authorities regarding the planned future deployment of the Phorm technology, in particular the way in which it is planned to obtain the users’ consent. The commission will continue to follow this case and take appropriate action, should the need arise, to ensure that the relevant EU law is effectively implemented by the UK authorities on this matter. (bold emphasis mine)
I congratulate the EU on recognizing the problem and picking up the phone as well as threatening more if something is not done. I have also drafted another letter which I have issued to the Advocacy committee of the Web Analytics Association which is currently under review.