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Privacy row forces Virgin to backtrack on Tube terms


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 11 Jun 2012 at 09:16

Virgin Media has changed the terms and conditions for people using its services on the London Underground to allay fears it could snoop on user communications.

The Tube Wi-Fi services, which began rolling out last week, came under fire from politicians and privacy campaigners over the wording of the user agreement, which appeared to give the carrier the option to monitor messages.

According to a report from the Evening Standard, the situation came to a head after it emerged that using the service would be taken as agreeing to terms and that “with your permission, we may monitor email and internet communications, including without limitation, any content or material transmitted over the services”.

Virgin admitted to the paper the wording was too vague after complaints from MP Robert Halfon and the Big Brother Watch privacy group.

With your permission, we may monitor email and internet communications, including without limitation, any content or material

The company said it had never intended to snoop on emails or other communications and had only included the wording to cover itself legally for blocking illegal content such as child porn.

“We reserve the right to monitor and control data volume and/or types of traffic transmitted via the services,” the passage now reads.

“We will not pass on your personal information to third parties except in accordance with this agreement or where we are required to disclose that information in order to comply with any legal or regulatory requirements.”

Virgin couldn't be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

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User comments

Is the new wording any better?

It seems to give them the right to "control" as well as "monitor" which the original wording did not. Is "types of traffic" narrower than "any content or material" - without definitions, it's open to debate.

May I suggest "We will monitor and retain data only to the extent necessary to deliver the service and comply with the law, and only for these purposes."

By JohnAHind on 11 Jun 2012


VPN, nuff said

By Chrisfjr1300 on 11 Jun 2012

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