back to article EU sues over Phorm trials

The European Commission is suing the UK government over authorities' failure to take any action in response to BT's secret trials of Phorm's behavioural advertising technology. The Commission alleges the UK is failing to meet its obligations under the Data Protection Directive and the ePrivacy Directive. The action follows 18 …


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  1. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up



    That is all.

  2. IndianaJ


    So the taxpayer coughs up a load more money for the failings of some jumped up CEO from the city..... sounds familiar.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Taxpayer

      It'll be the taxpayer *initially*, but there is always the option of the real villains being prosecuted in a UK court and fined. We'd get the money back, then.

      Last I looked, it was the Home Office that was dragging its feet on this one, and *they* are supposedly overseen by the Home Secretary, who *ought* to be accountable to the electorate.

  3. Velv


    What is sad about the whole affair is that it is we the public who will pay for it.

    Just think about how many hospital beds could be funded if the UK is fined?

    I hope the directors of Phorm sleep well at night

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yeah ...

      Is that how it works? If we get fined we take the money off hospitals to pay the fines?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Is that how it works? If we get fined we take the money off hospitals to pay the fines?"

        The fine payments have to come from somewhere now don't they? The money doesn't just magically appear from nowhere.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          You're absolutely right...

          "The fine payments have to come from somewhere now don't they? The money doesn't just magically appear from nowhere."

          We have these things called the Royal Mint, and 'quantitative easing'. But yes, apart from that hole, your argument is pretty much spot-on.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Ah ...

          But nobody said the money magically appears from nowhere. I asked whether we take it off hospitals.

          Is that how it works?

  4. James Pickett


    "The City of London police dropped their investigation of the Phorm trial, claiming BT had reasonable grounds to believe it had customers' consent"

    How do they work that out, then? Did BT threaten to cut off their phone lines if they didn't drop the case?

    I hope HMG will pass on any euro-fines to BT, otherwise we will all end up paying for Mr Ertegrul's little adventure.

  5. JohnG

    Punish the victims instead of those responsible

    "If the government loses the case, it faces fines of millions of pounds per day until it brings UK law in line with European law."

    The "it" that faces the fines being the unfortunate taxpayers who will ultimately pay the fines and who are also the victims of the privacy violations concerned. None of those responsible will see any dent in their salaries, pensions or golden handshakes. Why not fine the former ministers and officials responsible for introducing RIPA in the first place and then fine those currently responsible if they fail to remove the offending legislation in short order?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Why not fine the former ministers and officials responsible for introducing RIPA in the first place and then fine those currently responsible if they fail to remove the offending legislation in short order?"

      Because you'll get more money out of a government than you will from its ministers and any minister who loses millions of pounds to Brussels will get a very uneasy ride from the British (=Australian) press.

      A press which is strangely silent on the matter as of this morning.

  6. Red Bren

    Hollow victory

    Unless the fines are levied on those directly responsible, it's the UK tax-payer that will pay. And foot the bill for the legal cost of defending the indefensible.

    BT and Phorm must think it's Christmas.

  7. Woodgar

    Who Should Pay?

    It seems grossly unfair that the current Government should have to pay for the inadequacies of the previous Government, but them's the rules, I guess.

    Maybe they can find a way to send the bill onto the Labour Party and bankrupt them into oblivion once and for all.

    1. Tim Parker

      +4 Insightful

      Yeah - because it all would have been so much different under a $OTHER government...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Last time I checked the concept of democracy a government represented a country not a political party.

      Not to mention that we apply sanctions against Cuba, North Korea or Iran that impact the people of those countries not their governments, even if in some cases those governments are not even properly elected.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Sanctions - goose/gander

        People have no problems with sanctions affecting the people of Cuba, North Korea or Iran but they don't like it when they're subject to similar sanctions.

        Funny that. Where I come from, that's called hypocrisy.

      2. Mark 65

        @Andy S

        The purpose of sanctions is to force a regime change - we've already done that bit, of sorts so perhaps we should get credit for that and the fact there's so much shit to sort out we just hadn't gotten around to that bit yet.

  8. Reading Your E-mail
    Thumb Up


    Bout time someone stuck the boot into BT, they seem to think they are able to get away with anything because they are a "british" company, and the gov aren't helping by letting them get away with it.

    Although it is annoying the hell out of me that I am siding with brussels....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    We did tell them

    At last! Why has it taken the EU to wake the UK govt. up to the useless bundle of nonsense that it calls privacy laws? Thank you EU. And no thanks at all UK government who have been a disgrace - whatever party is in power.

    Apart from the fact that the taxpayer will be picking up the tab, I hope they get hammered. No doubt this will run and run and the timescale will be in years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why has it taken the EU to wake the UK govt?

      Because hardly any EU comissioners are up for BT directorships when they retire of course!

      Of course our politicans dont want tougher privacy laws. Cos if that happened, when they become directors in a few years time, they may get hit with them!

      Heck look at the ACS: Law debacle. There facing a *maximum* fine of £500,000 quid for loosing data including credit card data!, The largest fine ever meeted out was 2.3M to Zurich!, and thats after months of investigation!

      To a company like BT, thats a laugh.

      If they were forced to have to take Privacy *seriously* it would cost them *millions*

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why should tax payers pay the fine?

    BT should pay any fine, I'd suggest Phorm pay as well but I suspect they have no money.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Because the UK tax payers chose to be represented by a bunch of tossers. UK government = UK

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opportunity To Tell EU To Go Spin?

    We can but hope.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @(UKIP) AC

      You been downvoted 10 times already! Good show! Now you need to make up your mind and decide if the world is full of idiots or the idiot is you.

    2. Greg J Preece

      I agree!

      How dare those bastards attempt to protect us from illegal wiretaps by bringing a corrupt government to task? That's OUR corrupt government, damn it! Johnny Foreigner shouldn't put his do-gooding nose where it's not wanted.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      Go ahead and leave the EU. If you do, I hope they let Canada join. By the gods, that would be so unbelievably excellent. I am sorry you don’t hold the same values as I do, but I honestly believe that membership in the EU is the single best thing that can happen to any country. The EU isn’t perfect…but it’s the best we have developed so far. I would be deeply proud to have my nation join. Hell, I’d be proud to be able to get citizenship in a country member country.

      The EU has done more to protect the rights of ordinary citizens than any other political organisation or government in human history. In the modern world, it may well be the only government willing to actually take such stands. (Especially against large corporations; something no other government anywhere will stand up to.) I can understand that there are other people who do not believe as I do. Fair enough. I can’t share your sentiments, but I would die to protect your right to those beliefs.

      In the mean time, I would be glad to exchange my citizenship for yours; membership in the EU is to me far more preferable than membership in the impending American hegemony.

      Pint, because we should all just relax a little and not stress over things we cannot control.

      1. John PM Chappell


        I am going the other way, albeit not because I think the EU is a bad thing. Perhaps we can persuade the respective governments to do a swap? ;¬)

  12. Geegie

    Nothing changes

    this present gov are as bad as the last over privacy and rights. Still the same old responses from the Cabinet Office over 'vexatious' foi requests. So I'm afraid it's up to the EU to nail the sods to the wall why we pay for it. It's all the comfort we will get.

  13. Rogerborg

    Millions of pounds a day in return for nothing?

    So, how would we tell the difference?

  14. Dante
    Thumb Up


    About time!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Message to the European Commission


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Message to UKIP

      No Thanks

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So let me get this straight; a private company tries to invade MY privacy and rights, is forced to retreat by a public backlash because the regulator fails to intervene, and now the EU wants to fine the UK Government for millions of OUR tax money ?

    How does that work? Who is actually protecting the citizen here?

    (As the saying goes) we need to nuke the Eurocrats in Brussels from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

    1. Jason Hall


      Except the Eurocrats in this case are doing nothing wrong - they are actually protecting us.

      Just a shame we will be paying them from our own pockets (again).

      1. peter_dtm


        If they were protecting US they'd fine the individuals who failed :


        The government minister(s) who failed to apply EU law

        The civil servents who failed to advise their ministers

        After all we don't all get fined if one motorist speeds , do we ?

        We need to ensure fines & court sanctions always end up being applied to natural people, not companies or other legal entities

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The "Eurocrats" are protecting you

      This is the idea (please note that it is a general idea I do not imply that the current government is better than the previous or viceversa)

      - YOU vote for a government that doesn't care for the law

      - EU Commission fines YOUR country because it does not follow the law

      - YOU don't like being fined so next time YOU vote for a different government that DOES care about the law

      Unfortunately narrowminded people have problems dealing with logical thinking so I guess I am wasting my time here....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        OK, right, so you're saying that.....

        ....I need to vote for a government that consists of politicians who have respect for the laws they enact?

        Where do I find one of those?

    3. Chronos
      Thumb Down

      Re: Ridiculous

      How else are they going to pay for the Greek bailout? Europe is essentially a socialist setup and, despite the recession, it seems we still have more than our fair share of wealth. They only want to redistribute it a bit... </cynic>

      The chances of Ertugrul and his co-conspirators getting what they deserve because of this is vanishingly small. This is not a result, people.

      1. Jim Morrow

        it is a result

        The EU is not the same as the Eurozone. It's the countries that have the Euro who will be bailing out Greece and the other PIIGS members, not the EU.

        And yes, the news *is* a result. A hefty fine will go some way towards making the Home Office and Justice Ministries pay attention to upholding the laws they are responsible for. They let this Phorm evil go on even after it was clear it violated UK and EU law. And even now they're still resisting.

        The only bummer is that BT and Phorm - may they both go bust and rot in hell forever - are not getting fined.

  17. Winkypop Silver badge

    Millions of pounds per day...

    Dear UK Taxpayer,

    Give us all ya loot, there's a good fella/gal.

    The UK Govt

    It's win/lose really.

  18. N2

    Ha ha ha ha

    Please take note: It was the last lot of fuckwits you need to be hanging out to dry

    Go Viviane

  19. CockKnocker

    Brilliant, except......

    Will BT and Phorm be liable for this fine or will it be the taxpayer. Methinks its gonna be the taxpayer. Big fat triple fail.

  20. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


    Action should be taken against the party in government at the time, which failed to act, not against the government in general. That way, any punitive fines would be levied against that funds of that party, and not against the treasury in general, which only results in a drain on tax revenue, which is effectively punishing those who were spied on (the tax payers) for being spied on (by BT).

    Come to think of it, action should also be taken directly against the company that commissioned the trials (looking at you, BT), and the company that carried them out (Phorm, are you dead yet?). THAT is towards whom fines should be directed, not the taxpayer.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Tot he one who downvoted me

      I can only assume you work for either the Labour Party, BT, or Phorm. This strikes at the very heart of the issue of political responsibility. Once we elect somebody, they should be held responsible for the actions they take. They are supposed to be our representatives, not our masters. If, by omission, deliberate inaction, or otherwise, they fail to enact legislation which they are legally bound to do by treaty with the EU, then it is their responsibility, not ours. They are the ones who should be punished for their negligence, not us, through taxation.

      Now, it can be argued that the current lot of incumbents should be held accoutnable for continued failure to enact legislation that should have existed in the first place, and been used to punish BT et al. Because such legislation would now be post-facto, it would probably not be legal to apply said legislation to the offenders here (BT et al again). IANAL, obviously, but I believe this to be the case - a law cannot come into power on a date before it was passed.

      Having said that, I'm pretty sure an existing law COULD be found under which BT COULD be prosecuted. In this case, it could very well be argued that City police were negligent in their duties to the public. I don't know what exactly those duties are, but I bet you there is a charter somewhere that says they should have pursued and prosecuted BT. If this is the case, the individuals involved in dropping this case should be fined, not the police in general. They, too, are underfunded (thanks to the political classes, but that is another subject for another day). Ideally, those members of the old boys clubs, who pulled the strings at BT, Phorm, the City police, and in Whitehall would be tracked down, fined, removed from power, and possibly prosecuted under anti-corruption laws, if we have them. I say 'ideally', because I am not so naive to think that will ever happen.

  21. richard 7

    On one hand good, on the other hand

    Its us lot that will pay the fine :(

    BT and Phorm should be the targets, or the people responsible for the non compliance, after all its just penalising the whole cuntry and they can carry on with inpunity knowing we'll be paying the fine.

  22. The BigYin

    I fixed it for you

    "If the government loses the case, it faces fines of millions of pounds per day until it brings UK law in line with European law."

    Should read:

    "If the government loses the case, the UK taxpayer faces fines of millions of pounds per day until it brings UK law in line with European law."

    Obviously the bribes and back-hander BT handed out to the unelected and secretive EU-wonks wasn't enough. UK MPs must be much, much cheaper to buy. Hmm....haven't there been news stories about that fairly recerntly?

  23. JasonW

    Fines are all well and good...

    ... when they hit the individual concerned. They ought to condemn those guilty to jail time (at the expense of the guilty parties) - no reason for taxpayers or customers to pay for the illegal activity.

    1. Matthew 25

      Yeah but

      The trial isn't about BT/Phorm doing testing. Its about there being no UK law to stop them. The law is written and voted on by parliament. The fact there is no UK law is illegal under European law, so the EU is taking to court. Even though what BT have done with the trials of Phorm is morally wrong they have broken no law (allegedly), so they aren't on trial or liable for any fine.

      Once again our elected representatives have let us down by:

      1, Getting the thing wrong in the first place

      2, Not fixing it over a year ago when the EU first threatened to take them to court over there being no law.

      If they had then it would be BT/Phorm in the dock now, not


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Breach of statutory duty

        What Phorm and BT did is still illegal under both EU and UK law, as EU legislation has direct effect in the UK. This direct effect is not dependent on the UK government making local regulations, nor is it dependent on the UK government correctly transposing EU law. In principle an aggrieved individual could take BT and Phorm to the High Court for damages (and/or an injunction, if they had not already stopped the interception).

        The problem is the usual one: individuals cannot afford access to justice in this country. It would cost in excess of £50,000 to get the remedy the individual was entitled to. Moreover, they would risk losing their house if their application failed (perhaps on a technicality), as they would potentially be liable for the legal costs racked up by the other side on their QCs, junior barristers and teams of solicitors.

  24. Hugh Jorgen

    Steady on Brussells, go for the perps, not the victims.

    Once again I shudder at the notion of "millions of squids in fines...."

    Let's look at this logically. The English public were spied on by BT and once they found out complained to who did fuck all.

    Now their being spanked for their fuck alledness in the form of fines, and that money comes from........ the English public. Talk about a double shafting eh?

    Why, oh why can't we bring back more sensible means of holding the perps responsible for their actions? Financial fines will be useless as these dodgy bastards always have their money hidden so let's learn from the past....

    ......I propose public floggings. That'll teach em!!!

    In his summary of the offence and passing sentence Lord Justice Everard Edbutt declared "It would appear the defendants, after being made aware of the infractions committed by their chums and policical financiers, made a concious decision to divert attention away from the offences committed. Their attempts to ignore the offences and blatant option to do fuck all has left the British tax payer holding what is tantamount to the shitty end of the stick. I therefore pass judgement that these shitehawks are taken from this place to the public square and the skin flayed off their backs. I deem justice will then have been served on the twats without detriment to the public at large."

  25. Pirate Peter


    "European law says consent for interception must be "freely given, specific and informed indication of a person's wishes". BT did not obtain such consent to include customers' internet traffic in its testing."

    so where does this leave TT with it's stalk stalk service which they trialed without permission and intercepted customers browsing to strip the FULL URL to give to a third party so they could look at the page?

    seems the EU need to look at both at the same time to save us tax payers some cash and knock these spy systems on the head once and for all

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Pirate Peter

      "so where does this leave TT with it's stalk stalk service which they trialed without permission and intercepted customers browsing to strip the FULL URL to give to a third party so they could look at the page?"

      Where indeed?

  26. MinionZero

    At last, but nowhere near enough...

    The people who were in power have totally failed in their duty to protect us from unscrupulous companies like Phorm. Therefore these people who were in power need to be punished, not tax payers.

    Also this legal action is only about the unauthorised nature of the trials. We need legal action to utterly destroy Phorm and any company that tries to emulate them, making their whole behaviour totally illegal.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *** Not at this address ****

    The government should cross through the address on the envelope and have it forwarded on to Patsie Hewitt c/o BT and Jack Straw - just because.

  28. Dazed and Confused

    Why the Government?

    Well because they wrote the law in a way which couldn't stop the bastards!

    Secondly for the police's failing to prosecute the afore said bastards!

    Bit hard on us tax payers though, we get shafted from both ends.

    Can't we send Tony the bill? and suggest the Police might like to re-open their enquiry.


    Thank you Commissioner Reding

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    And hopefully finally an end to the corruption in the ICO, Home Office, Cabinet Office, and Police force too.


    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      I think you're going to be in business for a while yet.

  30. JAK 1
    Thumb Down

    BT are at it again

    their new web address help service is hijacking DNS queries and playing havoc with company vpns

    1. Anonymous Coward

      bastard bt

      well, if you're stupid enough to buy internet from bt, you get what you deserve.

      1. JAK 1

        and if you're stupid enough

        to write "buy internet"...

  31. cannon
    Big Brother

    1 law for them another for the rest of us slaves.

    im sure the UK government will want to snake their way around this as they continue to sell us out to the corporations.

    1 law for them another for the rest of us slaves.

    remember kids "its only criminal behaviour / terrorism when they do it"

    political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, & to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    George Orwell

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who pays?

    BT and Phorm will claim that they don't have to pay because the UK law was inadequate at the time of the trials. What? I have always been under the understanding that where UK and EU law differ on privacy matters then it is the EU law which decides the matter. The current status seems to bear that out.

    Where does this leave the STalkSTalk trials of intercepting communications during the Huawei router trials? Will complaints be in the UK courts as a response to this?

    BT also uses Huawei routers - is there something else that we need to know about BT and its 'malware protection' packages?

    The UK Government have no excuse for failing to update legislation: the petition asking for the law to be reviewed ran for a year and protests were ignored when the only response received was that the ICO was responsible; this after the ICO had stated that they had no such responsibility.

    I would love to see heads rolling, starting with the Home Office, Met Police and whoever ignored the concerns expressed by the ICO. Hopefully OfCom will be one of the first quangos to go, too, after their complete indifference to protecting the integrity of UK networks.

  33. irish donkey

    Criminal Prosecutions against the Police

    For dereliction of duty.

    After all they were supposed to have investigated this.

    Clearly not fit for role.

  34. Harry
    Thumb Up

    Re "I hope the directors of Phorm sleep well at night"

    I suspect a lot of people would hope that they sleep well both night *AND* day -- and preferably buried under 6 feet of soil for at LEAST a hundred years.

    At least the EC is doing something right but its a pity there's not even ONE person in UK government with a little bit of common sense who can understand why not only phorm but just about every other major company too needs to be very very severely restricted on what they can do with information they have no right to have.

    As a start, they could begin by insisting that so-called "consent" obtained either by a pre-ticked "opt-in" box or happening automatically under a contract term isn't "constent" at all, its an imposition which ought to guarantee at least a years mandatory imprisonment for the perpetrator.

  35. Da Weezil

    Smack em hard.

    Fines are not the answer.. Ban company directors from practicing. Ban politicians from holding ANY official office, Dismiss those from the legal circles who derailed the investigation and send a clear message that it is the people who are served by the state and business.. not the other way around.

    They talk tough about file sharing, this stuff is WORSE. Its time someone got tough with those who think they are our masters and owners. They are not- the exist to serve US - its time for a sharp reminder and a re-balancing of power and privacy back to the people.

  36. Tigra 07
    Thumb Down

    Tell em where to go

    Tell those Eurocrats to go back to Brussels and leave us alone

  37. Dennis Wilson

    Praise be to god

    Shit, now my life has no meaning any more

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Red Bren

    "BT and Phorm must think it's Christmas."

    I would imagine phorm think its Armageddon at the moment rather than christmas. A week odd ago, their share price was down to 110p from the stellar heights of 3650p at it's peak back in the 'good ol' days" of early march 2008. Then they made a market announcement to the effect that they were now deployed with a Brazilian ISP and were finally taking some money. The market response? Shares dropped to 50p in a week and are now up a bit to 65p.

    A clue as to why the market bolted at what would seem a positive announcement might be in the three little words at the end of the phrase "...has served its first targeted ads to opted-in users", at a guess reducing the pool of blood to suck on from 90% of users to 5%.

    We may pay the fine, but the and its mates in business wont be able to hide behind the "not my problem guv" defence again.

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Britards you might like to try a way to *not* have to pay this fine.

    2 options.

    1) UK Government *wins* the case. Conservative Eurosceptics outgun Conservative and Liberal europhiles?

    2)UK Government losses but their civil servants hope no one notices and quietly starts paying it but dragging their heels *expecting* that quite a lot of people will use the new laws to give various companies they like (or hope to get a non executive directorship off of) a good kicking.

    2 Looks quite likely. However it presumes the UK population will not *notice* it going on.

    Let me suggest that UK readers should write to their MP's explaining the situation in a *calm* fashion and point out to them, if they part of the Liberal/Conervative Coalition

    1) You are a voter.

    2) You voted for them partly because of their stand on ID cards and other threats to civil liberities.

    3) There is *no* reason *not* to implement these changes ASAP. It will strengthen the Coalitions image as being defenders of freedom and the rule of law (sub text. Whoever you want can still spy on whoever you want them to. But it will be *legal*).

    OTOH if your MP is Labor explain

    1) You did not vote for them because of they arrogant everyone-is-guilty-its-just-a-matter-of-time looniness.

    2)You understand Ed is trying to change things, he didn't agree with things in the old regime, not his fault etc.

    3)Because of their parties irresponsible behavior *you* can look forward to paying yer *more* taxes over to HMG which will go straight to Brussells to pay for failure to do the right thing.

    4)Remind them a referendum is planned that will change the voting rules making most if not *all* "safe" seats a thing of the past.

    5)A vote to expedite the implementation of EU privacy directives means another vote they can count on at the next election and less support for a move away from first-past-the-post.

    This should prove effective almost anywhere. They said the people of a certain Glasgow constituency would vote in a dead dog if it had a Labor rosette on (it's as poor now as when they were first elected more than half a century ago) until the expenses scandal overturned a 26000 vote majority to a c4000 majority for the SNP. (Up the Salmond! Scotia forever!).

    Politicians hate being on the loosing side of unpopular (and expensive) measures if they can avoid it. This approach makes them aware they *will* be on the loosing side unless they take action.

    It's your country. Remind the who *they* work for.

  40. Mark Eaton-Park

    take all the offender's pensions off them to pay the EU

    like I said in title first order is to make the party and directors involved pay with their pensions and seize any assets that passed between them to grease the wheels of injustice.

    I still believe that BT should have to pay compensation regardless of the privacy laws at the time being as they broke their own TOC. That BT said they did not know who was profiled suggests to me that they should pay all their customers until they remember who they screwed over.

    I vote that rather than spend taxpayers money attempting to identify the victims they simply make BT upgrade all the exchanges to 24Mbit/s within a year without increasing user charges that or return BT wholesale to the taxpayers control.

    The message should be clear to any company considering screwing the public in the future.

    They knew what they were doing was morally wrong, now all the offenders should have to pay be it asset seizure or criminal charges further.

    Kent should have criminal charges placed against him in the EU and all assets within the same seized.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So why can't the EU hold individuals accountable rather than governments?

    After all it, can't be hard to work out who was responsible for implementing the EU laws into UK law. That might force the politicians to take their responsibilities a little more seriously. Politicians on all sides have been deliberately stalling on this issue for months & years. And, surprise, surprise, OFCOM failed (AGAIN!), along with ICO (again).

    And as someone else suggested, UK authorities should go after the individuals at the City of London Police who failed in their duty.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abort / Retry / Fail

    Phorm is competing with ACS:Law to become the new default association with the term "Digital Syphilis in this year update to the urban slang dictionary.

  43. MJI Silver badge

    Don't make current government pay

    Make BT, Phorm, C.O.L. Police and the Ministers involved pay.

    Nothing to do with Cameron & Clegg, all to do with Nulab.

  44. The Original Ash

    Private prosecution

    Anyone up for contributing to a fund for prosecuting those involved? The Police decided previously that there was no case, so CPS never had the option of assessing the evidence (thereby preventing them from taking over and preventing retrial under Double Jeopardy regs). If EU say that it's illegal, we can bring that to ECJ and have them start proceedings against BT, Phorm, and the others involved.

    I'm not having my tax money spent paying fines imposed upon a previous government I didn't vote for and a company which should have known better. They can look after themselves.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @The Original Ash

      "thereby preventing them from taking over and preventing retrial under Double Jeopardy "

      I think you're behind the times on Double Jeopardy.

  45. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Misconduct charges ?


    Under English law, misconduct (or misfeasance) in public office is an offence at common law.[1]

    The Crown Prosecution Service guidelines on this offence[1] say that the elements of the offence are when:

    1) A public officer acting as such.

    2) Wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself.

    3) To such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder.[2]

    4) Without reasonable excuse or justification.

    1) MPs are public officers.

    2) MPs as a whole, and the ministers concerned, were informed by plenty of people that their law was not lawful under EU law. So passing the law/failing to correct it was both wilful and a neglect of their duty.

    3) Yup, definitely that

    4) Well I guess they'd try and come up with some form of weasel words - just like when they were trying to pretend they weren't stealing from us through expenses.

    So how do we start such an action ?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great start...

    ... any chance that (s)talk(s)talk might be next?

  47. John PM Chappell

    "Loyal Commenter" FAILs at politics...

    Sorry to burst your bubble but you were likely "down voted" because of your ignorance of the way the British system (such as it is) works.

    Specifically, we do not vote for parties, even if a lot of the populace are pretty ignorant and just look for their favourite colour, we vote for individuals (in a rather flawed 'first past the post' style local election) who may or may not be a member of a political party.

    Furthermore, once elected, these people are not "the government" they are members of our parliament which is collectively the source of our laws; "the government" is that group of politicians within parliament that band together so as to form a permanent majority. The leader of this group is the person "invited to form a government" by the reigning monarch in a nod to tradition and the essentially mythical idea that the UK is 'ruled' by a monarch, over time this person has come to be given the title 'Prime Minister' and reside in the same house in London whilst in this role.

  48. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    ISP's only want money.

    Stalk Stalk think this is a way to improve their revenue.

    If *enough* people dump them emphasizing *why* (it's not your service is that bad buy you don't need their "protection" they have no legal *duty* to spy on you and you don't want them spying on you) the word *might* go up the food chain to the chief shark that this is a *bad* idea.

    Just a thought.

  49. Anonymous Coward


    Memo to Cameron & Osborne - you could seize the moral high ground here.

    Please dispense with the services of:

    The relevant Home Office Unit and their management chain up to the PUS responsible;

    The relevant unit of the City Plod (management chain included again)

    All the consultants, lawyers, etc on retainers, who gave such poor advice.

    In all cases without compensation for loss of office, of course.

    Yes, some would have to be replaced, but with smaller numbers on lower salaries...

    That might go some way to paying the fine?

    Mine's the one with the deposit slip for MY severance cheque already in the pocket.

  50. chris 130


    Turn the nuts screws and expose the nasty little Phormers

  51. Gusty O'Windflap
    Paris Hilton

    just reading through the responses...

    and not being one who understands the law or politics to any great depth, I wondered if the UK Government is fined by the EU for this, can the UK Gov then turn around and start legal proceedings against BT and Phorm and then fine them?

    Paris as she is likely to be as clueless as I am

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