Is Big Brother Watching Over Your Shoulder?

The European Commission will undertake an investigation into failure on the part of the United Kingdom to protect its citizens from secret surveillance. The actual legal action leading to this study is the use of controversial behavioral advertising services which are being tested on BT’s internet customers without their consent. The EU says internet users must provide “clear consent” before a commercial organization uses data related to their shopping habits. Phorm has developed technology that allows internet service providers to track what their users are doing online. That information can then be sold to media companies and advertisers. EU telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding said: “I call on the UK authorities to change their national laws and ensure that national authorities are duly empowered and have proper sanctions at their disposal to enforce EU legislation.”

The world has yet to fully grasp changes in technology that allow government and private bodies to gain control of private data and engage in activities that intrude on the private lives of people. There is no question advertisers are trying to develop programs which provide them data concerning not merely the purchasing activities of individuals, but also about their everyday activities.