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Talk Talk going Ahead with Virus Alerts

TalkTalk is to begin trials of its Virus Alert security system, despite having run into trouble earlier this year with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over the service.

Virus Alerts is an anti-malware service that monitors all destination URLs in order to prevent customers visiting unsafe sites.

However, the product angered privacy campaigners when TalkTalk tried to launch the service in September, because users were apparently being enrolled without their knowledge.

Clive Dorsman, technology managing director at TalkTalk, insisted in a blog post that the Virus Alerts system records only destination web site URLs and not information on who sends the request "or other personal data with the URL".

"We've had lots of feedback on this topic in recent months. We would like you to know that we have welcomed the chance to review this feedback, and have had some useful discussions with the relevant public bodies," he said.

"We now expect to be able to commence trials for a limited number of customers who have agreed to test our anti-malware system in the next few weeks. "

The ICO said in a statement that it had consulted with TalkTalk on the best way forward.

"We have advised TalkTalk on the safeguards which are necessary to comply with the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. We expect them to make sure they are effective in practice," the watchdog said.

"As with all organisations, if we receive complaints from affected individuals we will take them seriously and look into them further. We have not received any to date."

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