Just when the recording industry thought they could use their friendly contacts with bed-fellows Virgin Media group to get equipment deployed that will spy on their customers a hurdle has arisen, it seems thats not strictly legal and complaints have now reached the ear of the EU Commisionhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8480699.stm
A human rights watchdog has asked the European Commission to assess the legality of software being used to analyse file-sharing in the UK.
The software in question is called CView and will be used by ISP Virgin Media to identify legal versus illegal traffic on its network.
The EC has said it will monitor the use of the software, following a complaint from Privacy International
A spokesman admitted that potentially 40% of Virgin Media's customers could have their data scrutinised and confirmed that it has no plans to inform them beforehand. He also conceded that it would not be technically difficult to link up deep packet inspection technology with the IP addresses which would identify individuals but stressed that was not the plan currently.
According to Alexander Hanff, head of ethical networks at Privacy International, use of such software is in breach of current UK law.
"Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) intercepting communications is a criminal offence regardless of what you do with the data," he said.
Mr Hanff said he would file a criminal complaint if Virgin Media deployed CView.
Thankfully folks like Alexander Hanff know their way around the law and are in place to ensure the rights of UK folks are not stolen by media friendly ISP companies who are it seems given special "rewards" by the recording industry for any anti consumer activities that ensure a monopoly is maintained despite its obvious "use-by-date" being over some time ago.