The government has claimed that they are happy with the way that BT trialled the Phorm advertising software despite the fact that they didn’t have consent from users. The findings of a government report are something of a mixed bag because despite claiming that they are happy the initial trial was perfectly legal they have set out quite different guidelines for the future implementation of this kind of user behaviour tracking software.
BT, Phorm, and other other organisations have come under some fairly serious fire recently once it was revealed that BT had trialled the Phorm software without gaining consent from their users. The legality of the software’s use was also questioned by the EU and whether these findings by the government will be the end of the questions remains to be seen.
The paper outlined usage guidelines for any future deployment of similar software. Users must be made aware of the software and how it will be used including what data will be collected and users must be given a clear option to opt out of the software’s use. Clearly none of these guidelines were met in the first instance which begs the question of how it could have been a legitimate use of the software.
Image courtesy of the BBC.