Virgin plans to use CView, a so called Deep Packet Inspection system, to snoop on nearly 1.6 million accounts to see whether any illegal file sharing is taking place.
The 40 percent of the network being spied on will have no idea that they are being watched and Virgin isn’t planning to tell them either. Virgin in a statement said it is not identifying individuals. However, its network does include individuals, and presumably Virgin knows their IP numbers and where they live.
The European Commission has said that it will be monitoring the scheme in case Virgin violates anyone’s privacy.
“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,” it said in a statement.
“The Commission’s services will closely monitor this case.”
Virgin has said that it will be co-operating fully with the EC and is already working with Ofcom and the ICO on the trial.