Phorm: 3 Years On

P. John made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney General's Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Attorney General's Office.

Dear Attorney General's Office,

I understand that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer is responsible for prosecutions, legal issues and criminal justice policy. And the DPP is superintended by the Attorney General, who is accountable to Parliament for the actions of the CPS.

Baroness Scotland, while in office, said "On a regular basis - through written and oral Parliamentary Questions, through correspondence and meetings with Members of Parliament raising cases on behalf of constituents, and through Select Committees - the Attorney General is called upon to answer for the CPS's policies and practices and the handling of individual cases big or small anywhere in the country".

3 years ago, almost to the day, the Delaware company Phorm Inc announced it was their intention to engage in nationwide communication surveillance and industrial espionage, for the purpose of advertising.

The announcement triggered a public outcry.

It soon became apparent that Phorm's Russian supplied espionage technology had already been covertly trialled on BT's UK telecommunication network. Even during a period of critical/severe national security alert, and two concurrent wars.

Phorm, previously trading as 121Media, were exposed as miscreants responsible for distributing malicious rootkits and spyware.

Thus I was among many who made complaints to the police; reporting illegal interception of confidential personal and commercial data communications, fraud, computer misuse, and commercial copyright theft... expecting a major police investigation would follow. Yet no police force in the country has been prepared to investigate.

I was told that the offences were 'not a police priority', and 'someone higher up has told us not to investigate'.

Meanwhile, a public petition to 10 Downing Street demanding protection for UK telecommunications gathered more than 20,000 signatures.

In October 2008 an application was made to the Director of Public Prosecutions asking permission to commence a private prosecution.

Since that date, the DPP has been silent. He has made no public statement offering any account or explanation.

Almost 900 days have passed, and (to the best of my knowledge) not one single person has been arrested, prosecuted, convicted, cautioned, fined, or imprisoned for any criminal offence. (On average, the CPS normally require just 9 days to make a prosecution decision).

Like others who have followed the course of these events, I share the suspicion that BT/Phorm crimes were aided by corruption, tainting senior figures in the Police, Home Office, Cabinet Office, and Regulators.

I hope that malfeasance does not extend to the DPP/CPS, and to allay that concern, I have asked them to provide me with a detailed account for their (in)action. Without success.

Please could you then;

- Confirm (or deny) that the Attorney General, as the superintendent, has been provided with detailed information concerning the handling of BT/Phorm case by the DPP/CPS
- State the dates when the Attorney General was provided with that information, and the volume of information (eg number of pages)
- Disclose the dates of all correspondence between the Attorney General's Office and the DPP/CPS, concerning the progress of the BT/Phorm case

So far as possible, please also;

- Disclose the content of all correspondence between the Attorney General's Office and the DPP/CPS, concerning the progress of the BT/Phorm case
- Disclose the reports provided by the DPP/CPS to the Attorney General concerning the progress of the BT/Phorm case
- Disclose any report given by the Attorney General's Office to Parliament concerning the DPP/CPS handling of the BT/Phorm affair

Sir Tim Berners Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) said of the methods used by Phorm, "I am embarrassed as a British citizen that this is happening while the US has drawn a very firm line to stop this".

Magna Carta says, "To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny, or delay right or justice".

Please help me understand why, 900 days after the DPP/CPS were asked to prosecute, the recidivist and treacherous criminals on the Board of British Telecom are still at large?

Please provide the public with an account for the handling of the BT/Phorm affair by the lawyers in the London Complex Casework Centre of the CPS.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

Tim Strevens, Attorney General's Office

Mr John

Thank you for your email of 15 February requesting information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Specifically you asked the following:

* Confirm (or deny) that the Attorney General, as the superintendent,
has been provided with detailed information concerning the handling of
BT/Phorm case by the DPP/CPS;
* State the dates when the Attorney General was provided with
that information, and the volume of information (eg number of pages);
* Disclose the dates of all correspondence between the
Attorney General's Office and the DPP/CPS, concerning the progress of
the BT/Phorm case;
* Disclose the content of all correspondence between the
Attorney General's Office and the DPP/CPS, concerning the progress of
the BT/Phorm case;
* Disclose the reports provided by the DPP/CPS to the Attorney General
concerning the progress of the BT/Phorm case;
* Disclose any report given by the Attorney General's Office
to Parliament concerning the DPP/CPS handling of the BT/Phorm affair.

I will contact you again once your request has been considered. I am
aiming to send a response to you by 16 March i.e. 20 working days from the
day after we received your request. If possible, I will of course reply
sooner.

Yours sincerely

Tim Strevens
FOI Team
Attorney General's Office
(020) 7271 2492

show quoted sections

Tim Strevens, Attorney General's Office

1 Attachment

Mr John

Please find attached reply in relation to your FOI request of 15 February.

Yours sincerely

Tim Strevens
FOI Team
Attorney General's Office
(020) 7271 2492

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Strevens,

thanks for your note. I'm disappointed to learn there will be a further delay.

While balancing the public interest, I hope you will also carefully consider the extraordinary level of corruption seemingly involved this case, and the supremacy of the rule of law in the UK.

"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."

For two and a half years, justice has not been done, nor has justice been seen to be done.

I would like to understand what is preventing the Police and CPS taking action to enforce the law. I am particularly concerned that Police/CPS corruption may be a factor in delaying justice.

I am very interested in obtaining information that would demonstrate that justice is being done; which would not require the AG office to disclose any details that would compromise the case. For example, simply confirming the existence of ongoing Court proceedings would not obstruct justice.

The criminals on the board of BT should be in jail.

So much was obvious three years ago. That those same criminals currently remain in managerial control of the UK's largest telecommunications company, despite their criminal misconduct, is grossly offensive in a supposedly free and democratic country that is governed by the rule of law.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Tim Strevens, Attorney General's Office

1 Attachment

Mr John

Please find attached reply to your FOI request of 15 February.

Yours sincerely

Tim Strevens
FOI Team
Attorney General's Office
(020) 7271 2492

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Strevens,

thank you for your response to my FoI request.

Given the CPS has now published a decision not to prosecute BT/Phorm Directors... please could I ask you to carefully review the decision to withhold all of the content of the communications between AGO and CPS.

You may be aware, Alex Hanff has given the CPS notice of intent to seek a Judicial Review of the Police/CPS failure to properly investigate the BT/Phorm affair... and the dialog between the AGO and CPS would be important evidence that due process was followed (or not).

It would also confirm (or refute) the purported independence of the CPS.

Ironically, given the illegal interception of communications by BT, the confidentiality of those communications may already be in doubt (as a consequence of illegal communication surveillance by Ian Livingston and BT).

It is obviously in the National interest, and the public interest, to see criminals and foreign nationals who engage in covert industrial espionage and mass personal surveillance prosecuted and jailed.

Thus the CPS decision is completely inexplicable at present. There is ample evidence to convict.

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ph...

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Dear Attorney General's Office,

I asked you to conduct an internal review concerning the request below;
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ph...

20 working days have elapsed since that date.

Please could you acknowledge my request, and indicate when you expect to complete the review?

Yours faithfully,

P. John

Tim Strevens, Attorney General's Office

Mr John,

Thank you for your email of today, 12 May.

The deadline for reply to your request for an internal review is actually
Wednesday, 18 May. If we are unable to meet this target, we will tell you
so, and explain why.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Strevens
FOI Team
Attorney General's Office
(020) 7271 2492

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Strevens,

thanks for your note dated 12 May 2011 concerning my FoI request (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ph...).

Please could you update me?

many thanks,
Yours sincerely,

P. John

Tim Strevens, Attorney General's Office

Mr. John,

Thank you for your email chasing a reply to your request of 14 April for
an internal review.

I am sorry we have missed our deadline of 18 May. I can assure you,
however, that your request is currently being reviewed, and we hope to
substantively respond to you shortly.

With apologies again,

Tim Strevens
FOI Team
Attorney General's Office
(020) 7271 2492

show quoted sections

Kate Froud, Attorney General's Office

1 Attachment

Sent on behalf of Peter Fish

Dear Mr. John

Please see the attached response to your email of 14 April 2011
regarding your FOI request relating to the BT/Phorm case.

<<110526 PF response to PJ.pdf>>

Regards,

Kate Froud

Attorney General's Office
20 Victoria Street
SW1H 0NF
Tel: 020 7271 2418

show quoted sections

philip walton left an annotation ()

There isn't any justice in this country...I am 58 and have had several spats with the legal/quasi-legal system, and have seen decisions made that beggar belief! I have had downright lies used against me at a tribunal (later proved), and been involved in a different tribunal where a considerable number of children were put at risk with no apparent consequence to those responsible, and indeed a great deal of bending the reality to protect them. I gave up my job as a pharmacist when I was told to do something by CSCI that was ABSOLUTELY dangerous, and on refusal, again lies and underhand tactics were used against the company I was a director of. Staffordshire NHS fiasco was probably bound to happen.

The problem is that those that work within the legal framework (or indeed in top jobs within government) can be as corrupt, biased, racist, sexist and any of the other "ists" as they want to be without consequence to themselves.

Unfortunately this way of working extends to politicians.