|foundation for information policy research|
"Home Office guidance misleading" says FIPR
RELEASE: 23 April 2008
The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) has today released the text of an open letter to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, on the legality of Phorm Inc's proposal to provide targeted advertising by snooping on Internet users' web browsing. FIPR calls on the Home Secretary to withdraw her department's previous statement because it has become incomplete and misleading in the light of new technical and legal analysis of Phorm's system, and is an obstacle to the just enforcement of the law.
The letter explains that a technical note by Dr Richard Clayton, FIPR's Treasurer, and a legal analysis by Nicholas Bohm, its General Counsel, show that the operation of Phorm's systems involves:
Individual directors and managers of the Internet Service Providers involved could be criminally liable for these offences.
The full text of the open letter can be viewed at:
Richard Clayton's technical analysis:
Nicholas Bohm's legal analysis:
The Home Office statement from January 2008:
Said Nicholas Bohm, General Counsel, FIPR:
"My legal analysis shows that the operation of Phorm's system involves illegal interception, fraud and breach of the data protection principles. Our papers demolish the existing Home Office statement, and it should be withdrawn. The Information Commissioner and the police should carry out a proper investigation of the complaints which have been made to them."
Said Richard Clayton, Treasurer, FIPR:
"Phorm's system will illegally intercept and process private and sensitive data, and we have now established that it will break other laws as well. The Home Office's superficial analysis said that the system would be lawful. Given their batting average at the High Court, relying upon their opinion was always unwise -- this new paper spells out the errors they have made, and makes it essential that their report is withdrawn.
Nicholas Bohm General Counsel, FIPR 01279 871272 07715 419728 nbohm AT ernest.net
Richard Clayton Treasurer, FIPR 01223 763570 07887 794090 treasurer AT fipr.org
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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