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August 14, 2009

Phorm data unavailable under the FOI

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by David Allen

The targeted adverting scheme Phorm or Webwise has still got consumers flustered, even though many of the country’s internet service providers have either stated that they will not be going ahead with deploying the system on their networks or have not made a final decision.

There have been many requests from the general public and organisations under the Freedom of Information Act but it seems, due to the costs involved, the government will not be processing any requests regarding the Phorm issue.

The Cabinet Office has been upfront in stating the reason why; it is because of the costs involved, according to the internet campaign organisation NoDPI.

They are quoting regulation 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, which means that the government can refuse repeated requests due the cost.

Story link: Phorm data unavailable under the FOI

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  1. Up front? Being up front would involve disclosing the information requested.

    To date, the Cabinet Office have disclosed little if anything about what the Prime Minister/Cabinet knew about the Phorm trails and when.

    Why does it matter?

    If the PM authorised mass covert surveillance/ industrial espionage in the UK, that would be very serious.

    If he didn’t authorise it, you might hope the UK Security Services would have made him aware that Russian supplied surveillance equipment had been detected in BT’s core networks. Particularly given Kent Ertugrul’s close ties to the Russian military (Migs etc). So if it was detected, why was there no intervention by the Police and Security Services?

    But suppose he didn’t authorise, and wasn’t told by the Security Services?

    What does that say about the security of British telecommunications networks, the capability of the GCHQ/CPNI to protect us, and the integrity of people who operate the networks? You might expect the Prime Minister or Home Secretary would make a statement to Parliament… but there has been none at all.

    Comment by Pete — August 14, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  2. What the Cabinet Office have actually said is “the Cabinet Office would propose to deal with any further requests on this subject from you or anyone who appears to be acting in concert with you in a similar manner”
    So, anyone who is not the original poster or in league with him can still ask away.
    Just as a matter of interest, the OP and one of his cohorts between them have made 114 FOI request this year alone: money well spent? I think not. About time people were dissuaded from abusing the system.

    Comment by A Donalson — August 14, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  3. Who decides who is acting in concert? The Cabinet Office, and how do they decide that? The easiest way would have been for the Cabinet Office to answer the question and provide the requested information, instead of trying to protect their own.

    Comment by Pingus — August 16, 2009 @ 12:12 am

  4. I’m not a ‘cohort’, having nothing to do with any of the organisers of probes into BT/Phorm/etc activity, but I can tell you one thing for sure: I’m VERY VERY interested in finding out what’s been going on. As are a good number of friends and family. I think there is a real underestimation of the number of people for whom the whole Phorm and DPI thing is an issue.

    Comment by UK IT worker — August 18, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

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