Privacy group's complaint to EC starts investigation into Virgin's use of internet traffic monitoring software
Virgin Media’s planned use of Detica’s CView technology will be closely scrutinised by the European Commission after it received a complaint from Privacy International.
The privacy organisation warned at the end of last year it would refer the internet service provider’s (ISP) proposal to monitor its customer’s internet traffic internet for illegal downloads to the EC.
Although Virgin has not as yet started using the technology it said its use posed no security or privacy risk to its customers. However Alex Hanff, head of ethical networks for Privacy International, rubbished this claim.
Virgin will use CView to look for signatures that show if a person is downloading content using file-sharing services.
The ISP said the technology automatically checks a database set up by copyright holders to see if the content has its digital rights management watermarks and fingerprints.
Virgin claimed that user details will not be handed over to the copyright holders as the trial is designed to measure the number of illegal downloads.
Virgin also said that no individual communications would be monitored.
“CView monitors core network traffic not customer connections. We've engaged with all the relevant bodies, including Ofcom, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the EC, to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed judgement about our planned trial.
"CView works at a core-network level, and simply analyses - anonymously - the percentage of data that flows across the network that is copyrighted and being shared unlawfully.
We continue to communicate our intentions openly and transparently and it's important for us to reassure our customers that CView does not identify or store individual customers' data and does not identify individual use or behaviour."
The ISP said no start date has been set to start using CView but Privacy International said Virgin would have to intercept individuals’ traffic and inspect the content to find the signatures.
“If Virgin starts to deploy CView we will contact the Metropolitan Police and start legal action because use of the technology is a breach of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa)” said Mr Hanff.
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