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Behavioural targeting row continues - May 2009

European privacy watchdogs are divided on the legality of the powerful targeting delivered by behavioural advertising and a row has broken out over a leading proponent, Phorm. Last year, Phorm obtained a qualified green light from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office because the system does not store personally identifiable information, URLs, IP addresses or retain browsing histories and search information is deleted almost immediately, and is not retrievable. However, the European Commission disagrees and has filed infringement proceedings for incorrect implementation of the Data Protection Directive against the UK Government. The EC argues that the Phorm technology involves the interception of communications and related traffic data, which is prohibited in the UK by means of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). Under RIPA it is an offence to intercept communications deliberately unless the interceptor has reasonable grounds for believing that consent has been given. The Government has two months to reply to the allegations and if it can’t satisfy the Commission the case could be referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.


If you want to hear more about this debate, the Data Publisher’s Association is hosting a seminar on June 2nd at the Natural History Museum where Josh Smith will make the case for Phorm.  Click here for details.

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