A little while ago I declared a closed season on Phorm, but this story merits coverage. The UK Information Commissioner has examined Phorm’s OIX and Webwise offerings, and concluded that since they have yet to launch a commercial service, it does not merit intervention, and the ICO’s current position is to maintain a watch on events. However, that didn’t satisfy camapaigners who object to Phorm’s approach to user profiling, and as a result the European Commission is apparently considering intervention. Anti-phorm protesters will be at BT’s AGM next month, and will also be demanding police intervention over Phorm’s technology trials with BT (although I imagine it highly unlikely that will result in action simply because of the complexity of the legal issues and an under-resourced police force).
This battle is proving to be another demonstration of just how hard a small but motivated group of campaigners can hit major corporates when they feel their privacy has been breached. BT’s handling of protesters is going to be a tipping point for the battle, so keep an eye on the news on July 16th.