When we reported last week that Virgin Media would be providing free WiFi at selected London tube stations, it didn’t cross our minds that there might be a potential breach of personal information. But the shocking news arose that the company would have been allowed to read all emails sent by passengers using the underground WiFi, and to snoop on web use.
The clause in Virgin Media’s contract read as such: “With your permission, we may monitor email and internet communications, including without limitation, any content or material transmitted over the services.”
Virgin Media has now amended that clause following an investigation by the Evening Standard. The company claimed it had only included the clause to abide by legal obligations such as blocking child porn sites.
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We are not monitoring how individuals use our WiFi service and have clarified our T&Cs to make this clear. We block illegal or harmful content in line with our legal and regulatory obligations.”
Nevertheless, it’s rather unnerving that such a clause could have slipped through the net in the first place. Big Branson is watching you…