Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Police drop BT-Phorm investigation

The police have halted their investigation into BT and Phorm over the illegal secret interception of communications during the adware trials. A police representative claimed there was implied consent from customers to the trials - how they work that out when they were deliberately kept secret I'm not sure. They also say:

"The matter is considered a civil dispute, and ... desire to elicit clarity around the wording of the relevant acts would necessitate senior Counsel involvement and it is thought this would be inappropriate for Police to use public funds to pursue civil issues where there is no suggestion that Criminal Intent exists."

It's a fair point to say it is inappropriate for Police to use public funds to pursue civil issues (pity no one told Congress this as they merrily continue to rubber stamp the latest piece of IP expansionism in introducing copyright police) but he should have stopped there. Going on to say there was 'no suggestion that Criminal Intent exists' is stretching a point a bit. The logical extension of finding no criminal intent here is to say that a city speculator engaged in insider trading was doing nothing wrong as long as he believed he was doing nothing wrong.

Nicholas Bohm from FIPR is unimpressed:

"City of London Police's response expresses massive disinterest in what occurred. Saying that BT customers gave implied consent is absurd. There was never any behaviour by BT customers that could be interpreted as implied consent because they were deliberately kept in the dark.

"As for the issue of whether there was criminal intent, well, they intended to intercept communications. That was the purpose of what they were doing. To say that there was no criminal intent is to misunderstand the legal requirements for criminal intent."

Thanks to Zoe Nolan via the ORG list for the pointer.

No comments: