asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether any official or Minister in the Home Office has offered written or oral advice to any executive of the company Phorm as to the legality of their targeted advertising software product; if so, what was the advice; in what circumstances was it given; and what was the justification for giving it.
The Home Office was asked by a number of parties, including Phorm's legal representative, for a view on the compatibility of targeted advertising services with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. It provided a guidance note for those parties.
The note is not, nor was it intended to be taken as, a definitive statement or interpretation of the law, which only a court can give. Nor was it intended for publication. However, a copy of that note has been published at http://cryptome.org/ho-phorm.pdf.
Working to protect the public, the Home Office is keen to help industry understand its legislative responsibilities, and to work with business in order to achieve a workable balance between commercial interests and public safety. In this way potential legal obligations can be taken into account in the conception of new products and services.