The recent report by The Guardian about the Judicial Review into the Digital Economy Act seems to be little more than a whining board for those proponents of the legislation who are annoyed by the prospect of the review. The comments after the article say as much. This is my brief (ish) summary of how the DEA came into being & how supporters of the legislation are behaving. I don’t know if The Guardian has forgotten to mention some of the other salient facts or just missed them out for a word limit so here they are.
It is finished. An exciting election which gave us some compelling theatre and drove the media speculation machine into overdrive has finally given us a new Prime Minister and a Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition government. The control freakery and paranoia of New Labour has been rejected. Nick Clegg had achieved that which every Liberal, SDP and now Liberal Democrat leader during my life had desired – to have the balance of power in their hands.
I find it ironic that Ian Livingston, CEO of BT, has come out against the Digital Economy Bill claiming that it is “against natural justice”.
This is the same Ian Livingston who was the senior executive directly responsible for BT’s secret and illegal testing of Phorm’s technology.
This is the same Ian Livingston who claims to operate ethically and within the law. Tell me Mr Livingston, how does Phorm’s technology – the technology you authorised – operate within the law? Nobody knows because nobody – not Phorm, not BT, not Virgin Media – has published a legal opinion confirming that it does.
This is the same Ian Livingston who has yet to come forward and admit BT’s testing of Phorm was illegal to a court of law.
And he has the gall to talk of natural justice?
Hypocrisy of the worst kind.
Natural justice involves Mr Livingston facing charges with the other BT & Phorm excutives in a Court of Law over their involvement with the illegal interception of thousands of peoples’ internet traffic.
That’s natural justice Mr Livingston.
You still have a case to answer. Or do your ethical standards conveniently ignore the things you did before you became BT Group CEO?
Reports Chris Williams at The Register.
This is good news and something I have been saying for a long time now:there needs to be a full legal reckoning with the BT and Phorm executives responsible for these breaches of the law held to account. In court.
Chris’ report has a very brief summary of the Phorm case for anyone who is new to the story. My own entries go back as far as March 2008 and highlight the various illegalities, lack of ethics, lack of open discussion by Phorm, BT & Virgin Media (who I fired), rejections of Phorm by high profile organisations and more besides.
One interesting point here is that Ian Livingston (now BT Group CEO) was the senior executive directly responsible for the illegal and secret Phorm trials. This is the same Ian Livingston whose name appears after a piece of spin entitled “The Way We Work”. I cannot equate the illegal use of Phorm’s technology with behaving openly, ethically and in line with the law. UK and EU law has been broken here. How is that ethical?
I would love to see the BT management responsible for these breaches of UK and EU law in court for a full trial. I contend that Mr Livingston’s talk about ethics and integrity are meritless spin and deserve to be exposed as such in court.
The Nationwide Building Society has always struck me as an organisation which lives its principles. Unlike some other organisations I can think of. This weekend just past was a busy one for me on many fronts so I wasn’t able to keep in touch with events at Lord’s or on the NoDPI forum.
So it came as refreshing news that Nationwide has declared that it is opting-out of Phorm’s Webwise scheme. Several sources carry this report. The Guardian carries a fuller version of Nationwide’s statement (my emphasis):
We have had discussions with our online advertising agency on Phorm and as a result of this review we have decided to contact Phorm and ask them not to scan the Nationwide website. Investigating the service that they are looking to offer, we do not see the benefit to our customers or to us of allowing them to scan the Nationwide website in this way.
Phorm might associate itself with companies with questionable ethical behaviour (yes, I am talking about Ian Livingston and BT) but companies like The Guardian, Orange, Amazon and now Nationwide are rejecting Phorm.
Opt-out is the poorer choice as Webwise should be opt-in only under EU law but by making this announcement, Nationwide is showing itself to be respectful of its customers’ privacy.
Remember, Phorm’s Webwise “product” is illegal under UK and EU law. The UK “government” lacked the cojones to enforce the law and is now being held accountable for that failure by the EU. Kent Ertugrul and Phorm’s PR companies have failed to produce a qualified verifiable legal opinion confirming Webwise’s legality.