Advanced Television

EC will monitor Virgin's deep packet anti-piracy

January 27, 2010

Responding to civil liberties concerns, the European Commission has said it will “closely monitor” a planned UK trial of deep packet inspection technology by Virgin Media.

In November Virgin announced plans to look at the traffic of 40 per cent, or 1.6 million, of its subscribers, to gauge the level of illegal file-sharing on its networks. The company has said it will not inform those customers that their data packets are being studied, saying there is no need to notify participants as their identifying details will be anonymised.

“The Commission confirms its commitment to the protection of privacy and security of electronic communications as one of its priorities, and it keeps a close eye on the further development of technologies in favour of businesses and consumers, in order to ensure they are used in a way that complies with EU rules,” said the Commission.

The European Commission is interested in applications of deep packet inspection as it relates to UK law. It is conducting a long-standing investigation into whether the UK government breached pan-European legal regulations when it refused to investigate secret trials of Phorm behavioural tracking conducted by BT.

Virgin Media will use deep packet inspection technology called CView, by surveillance tech company Detica, in the trial.

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