What Needs to Change: Government Policy

Campaigners against Phorm and Deep Packet Inspection advertising have created a list of recommendations for UK Government policy makers;

  1. Existing interception laws must be enforced. Future deployment of interception-based advertising should be stopped – as it has been in the US – and a prosecution brought against those responsible for trials in 2006-07. Statements by the Home Office and the Information Commissioner claiming that interception based advertising systems can operate lawfully must be withdrawn.
  2. There must be effective penalties for malicious commercial violation of the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. At present the Information Commissioner’s Office claim no action can be taken if the malicious misconduct has already ceased.
  3. The Government should review whether Ofcom can combine the roles of regulating communications, regulating the media, and encouraging investment in infrastructure without unacceptable conflicts of interest arising. The Government should consider whether Ofcom should be split into a telecommunication regulator and a media regulator.
  4. Telecommunication companies should be encouraged to develop a voluntary code of conduct, including the commitment to refrain from certain conflicting business pursuits, particularly those involving media and advertising interests.
  5. The Information Commissioner’s Office must employ qualified IT expertise, and demonstrate a capability to conduct independent critical regulation of the IT industry.
  6. Recognising the advent of mobile communications, the privacy of data concerning the location of the parties to a communication should be protected.
  7. The Government should prohibit trading in personal data without explicit consent of the data subject.

Trustworthy telecommunication services are a key enabler of a modern economy, and vital to protect human rights, so must be robustly protected for the UK community as a whole (not just the advertising & media industry).

21,000 people signed the petition to the Prime Minister asking him to stop Phorm.