back to article Police quiz BT on secret Phorm trials

City of London police questioned BT earlier this week as part of a probe into the covert wiretapping and profiling of the internet use of tens of thousands of BT customers during tests of Phorm's adware system. City of London CID met BT representatives on Tuesday. Officers have been examining the dossier of evidence handed to …

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I hope they don't get away with this...

I so hope that BT do not get away with this. Why should BT have powers the police need to request?

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Go

For more info...

For more information on the CoL situation, read the emails and listen to the phonecalls here:

https://nodpi.org/

Alexander Hanff

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Anonymous Coward

The wheels turn slowly...

but the do keep turning.

Although I am sure lots of people will post "nothing will come of it blah blah blah...."

I think it is all going to come crashing down around Phorm. Possibly not for a while, but i'm sure it will happen.

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Oh fucking FINALLY!

I was wondering when the hell PC Plod would pay BT a visit.

Its only about the biggest case of wiretapping and spyware of all damn time!

We use this thing for shopping, banking and other stuff except horse porn you know!

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RIP(A) Phorm

So long parasites

:)

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Happy

Cop 'em some freebies

Advice to Phorm, follow the methods of the Friends of Hubbard: Buy the cops some cinema tickets ... and some popcorn too, why not?

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Thank god

I've been waiting for this, im not a BT customer and wasnt effected but the lack of legal response was really worring me, it would have set a dangours precident that would allow ISP's to intercept their customer's electronic comunications for what ever they want.

I really hope that who ever made the decision to deploy the phorm trial gets locked up, because they broke the law. If I take legal advice and they tell me killing someone is ok, it doesn't mean its ok it means you have bad legal advice and your still committing a crime if you do the act. Same with this BT broke the law and should damned well be strung up for it.

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Dead Vulture

Well well

I was cynical anything would be done about this, yet outraged that it ever happened. I suspect the Police were given a kick up the bottie after the EU wrote to the government - they had to be seen to make some kind of effort. I suspect the govt's response to the EU will now be "The Fuzz are looking into it, we'll get back to you".

Bear in mind the caveats about whether it's "in the public interest" to prosecute, etc etc.

I can assure them it's bloody well in MY interest!

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Coat

"proportionate and in the public interest"

Who's making that decision then?

I know which way I think it should go, but then I also think it's time Tony Bliar was called to account. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime, it starts and stops with YOU Tony.

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Coat

Wouldn't suprise me if

a senior police figure (or maybe just retired/pushed) gets on the board of BT or Phorm.

Keeps the 'old boy' network alive don't know you know (although BT are probably monitoring that network as well).

Mines with one with hi-viz stripes on it

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Spin

"it took legal advice"

But it (BT) won't say from whom, so it's worthless. Where's Judge John Deed when you need him..?

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Paris Hilton

@AC and Horse Porn

Horse porn. Made me chuckle. I had a fleeting idea that I was more into Ponies, then I thought oh oh ... horse peedo alert!!

I reckon Phorm will need to change their name. They've now got a bad reputation already. (I won't comment on BT)

Paris... because I wouldn't mind going there. Do you think she'll do French?

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Alert

DS Barry Murray

Needs to develop a better attitude, and pull his finger out on this one or there will be a new petition lodged with Downing street...

17,000 signatures and counting... Dont forget to sign!!

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Wiretapping your home to get you to buy more stuff!

lock em up and throw away the key, they really need the book thrown at them , a precedent needs to be set to prevent those trusted with the responsibility of carrying our data from abusing both our trust and our privacy.

Lets hope the law stamps down hard on them.

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@Anonymous Coward

"I think it is all going to come crashing down around Phorm.".... unless, of course they sell it to the Home Office as a packaged solution for feeding the Internet Snooping Database that Smith woman wants so badly.

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Good, but...

It'll be all for naught. If anything, they'll end up with a slap on the wrist and an insignificant fine. I highly doubt any heads will roll for this and I _know_ BT will not learn their lesson.

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I live in hope but...

...I can't help but feel those scumbags at BT will get away with this. They'll fob knacker off with some technical BS and weasel their way out of it. There is always a glimmer of hope though.

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Plodding along.

Go get 'em, PC49.

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Pirate

What about the other ISPs?

Please Mr Pig, save a few cans of Whoop Ass for Virgin...

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Ash

@"proportionate and in the public interest"

This is the crux of the matter; Who decides what is in the public interest?

If the public had any real say in the matter, Tony Blair would have been out of office on 20th March 2003.

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YAY!!!!!

Finally, something at least including the fuzz and Phorm in the same sentence.

My hope is still with the EU, I expect Police to be as good at prosecuting BT as a gang of hoodies.

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And the market says...

Yesterday, Phorm's share price rose TWENTY PERCENT on news that the next batch of trials will be "soon". There was no financial info in this release whatsoever, but the market seemed to love it.

Then this news today and so far it has fallen 10%

Bloody annoying. I have a CFD shorting 1000 shares (opened at £12.50) and can't wait for the stock to plummet. Currently making about £5K profit on a £1K stake, but I am hoping I can make much more than that if the stock market would only wake up to what is going on.

Do your bit - SHORT PHORM!!

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Anonymous Coward

Phorm data

Advice to Phorm - Copy your data onto a CD with a password Post-it Note and leave it in a cab. Then after a brief moment of publicity it will get forgotten about like all the government/personal data that Ed the cabbie has in his flat.

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@Clive Galway

..shorting with you, sir

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How the interview went:

Scene the interview room at police central.

Good morning BT representative, I'm DI Plod and I'd like to talk to you about all this internet monitoring you're alleged to have done - especially the bit where you monitored people's web browsing habits.

Hello Di, pleased to meet you. Where would you like to start?

Can you give me some idea of the type and extent of the monitoring you were doing. please.

Certainly Di, take this example. It's from a Mr. D. Plod and it lists the "interesting" websites that you, sorry, he, visited over an extended period. As you can see, it would be very unfortunate if this sort of information made it's way to the subject's superiors ... Especially if they were employed in a sensitive public position.

Hmmm, yes I see what you mean. .... Do you have any other examples?

Let's see now, Di. Here's one for a Chief Inspector. It does look like he's been a very naughty boy. Here's another one - I believe this person is a judge, maybe you know her?

Harrrumph. <cough> well it looks to me as if everything's in order and I don't think we'll need to trouble you any more. Although, do you mind if I keep copies of these, as my promotion interview's coming up and , err, they'll be useful examples of the investigations I've been performing <cough>

Certainly, Di. And no doubt in years to come - when you've risen rapidly in the force we can talk about any other internet-related issues you may be able to help us with.

Interview closes with funny handshakes all round

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I know what the police are after

The police have only got involved as they want to see if Phorm has tracked anyone downloading any extreme phorn!

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Is it my imagination...

...or is there a serious downwards spike in PHORM's shareprice this afternoon? After yesterday's slight lift, Kent must be absolutely gutted at the timing of this.

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Flame

Phorm used to be 121media

"I think it is all going to come crashing down around Phorm."

Sadly they'll just fire the directors, rehire them and change branding again. Then you've got a whole new company that's not liable to the previous mistakes and so continue being arseholes.

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"in the public interest"

"There's no indication as to whether formal proceedings will be brought. Considerations will include whether charges would be proportionate and in the public interest."

That statement doesn't have any bearing on public concern over the matter - it means if a prosecution is brought against BT what are the chances of winning and making them pay for the proceedings in damages as opposed to the tax payer footing the bill.

It's probably already dead in the ground but if charges are brought involving breaches of any privacy laws - it's all over for BT and Phorm, regardless of whether they are fined or imprisoned, neither they, nor any UK ISP will ever again contemplate using Deep Packet Inspection technologies to profile their customers in this way.

Then justice has been seen to be done and a multi-million pound corporation has been shown that even they are not above the law.

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Coat

@ Oh fucking FINALLY!

Shurely shome mishtake:

Oh Phucking FINALLY! :-)

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Paris Hilton

John Deed?

Never mind Judge John Deed. Were is Judge Dredd when we need him?

Paris 'cos she knows all about privacy

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When are you lot going to stop fucking complaining...

...and just lube up and enjoy your deep packet inspection.

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Watching with baited breath...

hoping and praying BT Directors face jail for this.

Its in my interest. I don't want my web sites scammed, I don't want my kids profiled.

And I don't want reckless criminal bandits at the helm of trusted blue chip companies like BT.

Its not in the national interest to have UK businesses scammed, and UK citizens subject to mass surveillance.

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Don't get excited

All the plod are doing is going through the motions and paying lip service.

As usual sweet FA will come of it.

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Since everyone else has overlooked it

don't forget the Phuzz!

It will be a disgrace if a prosecution does not follow, but if BT are fined it's their customers who will actually pay the fine.

Remember the cash for honours - swept under the carpet although it was as plain as a pikestaff to us mere mortals.

Who's taking bets?

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Coat

In depth, analysis.

Spread it around. It's a shame to waste it on politics, British politics at that.

"Sadly they'll just fire the directors, rehire them and change branding again. Then you've got a whole new company that's not liable to the previous mistakes and so continue being arseholes."

There some incisive minds reading this rubbish, why don't you all come over to sci.geo.earthquakes and blow all those stupid bastards away with this clarity of mind?

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If its against the law. Then its aginst the law

Its black and white. The law is not gray. If a crime has been committed. Some one should be prosecuted.

The law is here to protect us.

Matthew Woolley

ITACS UK.

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The public interest

Lies in discouraging other scum from trying the same trick.

That's the reason the police prosecute a lot of crooks, I'd have thought, so no excuse for not being thorough in this case. Throw the book at BT, I say.

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Oh do stop

Blaming Tony Blair for his Mad-Cow mother's creation

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Police Malpractice

Remember the recent incident in which CoL police appeared to be in bed with Scientology?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/23/scientology_protest_no_prosecution/

Could this force be totally controlled by the funny-handshake brigades?

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Copyright violation

I've always wondered about this from a copyright point of view. If I run a website whose pages are copyright and user requests a copy of those pages, I send the users a my copyrighted pages. And Phorm/BT alter my copyrighted materail without my consent and then send it to users. It sure sounds like a they taken my copyrighted material altered and presented it for profit.

I agree I want to see crimal charges filed but a massive copyright suit wouldn't hurt. As site owner I don't want some ISP stealing my content and selling it to other advertisors.

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Paris Hilton

Nice cup of tea?

I imagine the interview was less rigorous than most of us would wish for; more a nice cosy chat about the impertinence of the public disagreeing with the decisions of business.

I'll start taking the official interest seriously when I see some greasy wanker from BT/phorm defending the indefensible in court.

Nothing less than some phucker getting banged up will do.

Paris, 'cos she's au fait with invaded privacy and getting banged up.

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Anonymous Coward

Place Your Bets...

Anyone care to bet on plod trying to avoid actually doing anything because it's too complicated for them?

Have BT and Phorm ever published the supposed "legal advice" they claim to have received? No. Because that would leave them open to more public scrutiny and possibly be exposed as the lying shyters so many people believe them to be.

@Tim J - some people are happy to be apathetic and get walked all over. Not me.

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Unhappy

Sorry but...

Think you’ll find any police investigation into Bt’s wrong doings is to satisfy EU requirements only and as a result the whole thing will be laid to rest with the forthcoming secret Viviane Reding reply... Bt will then begin it’s trials and deploy this dpi system.

It’s ‘opt in’ and because of that Bt will have to blackmail it’s users into doing so by offering them substantial reductions and hiked up charges for those who refuse.

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Well you asked for it BT

Like many I hope this is another nail in the coffin for that oft used and highly dubious phrase:

"enhancing the user experience"

now I for one run a mile when I see that 'cause it usually means the opposite and more likely means enhancing the profits of the provider at the users expense...

"Death to marketing bullshit!", I say.

Good on ya' Reg for keeping us informed on this.

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@grant

I have a similar concern. I'm actually thinking of putting a notice on my website to the effect that I retain copyright, it carries no advertising and requesting that viewers contact their ISP if they see any advertising on it.

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Paris Hilton

Storm In a Tea Cup

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this whole issue is a S T O R M I N A T E A C U P .

"Officers have been examining the dossier of evidence handed to Wood Street police station by campaigners following the 16 June protest against BT's planned full deployment of Phorm's technology. It included the internal documents detailing the 2006 trial, which we reported here."

Wake up and smell the coffee people. The Police are only doing what they are obliged to do.

N O T H I N G W I L L E V E R C O M E O F T H I S .

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Stop

Goot love the bloodthirsty mob

"Its black and white. The law is not gray. If a crime has been committed. Some one should be prosecuted."

And other sentiments like "string 'em up" and "throw away the key".

First, they are innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law. Isn't this something people in this forum like to shout about when it suits them? You can't have it both ways.

Secondly, if they are proven guilty, what would be a suitable punishment? As a libertarian I find their intruding on people's privacy disgusting, but it's hardly something to lock (or "string") them up for, is it?

It's hardly on the same scale as murder, rape, assault, robbery, arson or other crimes. Not all crimes are equally serious and don't all deserve equal punishment.

Keep a sense of proportion, please.

-- Jon

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Anonymous Coward

Bit Bizarre

How come all the posts here are so vehmently anti-phorm? I'm no expert on the phorm thing but when it appears to have been specifically designed to be unrelatable to a specific IP address - so then whats the problem? I could care less if they profile me and send me 'targetted' ads - I still have the brains to ignore them! Also much better than the Google ad machine which I would think is much more likely to store IPs? Is this a case of monkey see monkey do? Media say phorm bad monkey gets knickers in a twist and posts angry missives to the Reg?

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