esocid writes "BT, an ISP located in the UK, tested secret spyware on tens of thousands of its broadband customers without their knowledge, it admitted yesterday. The scandal came to light only after some customers stumbled across tell-tale signs of spying. At first, they were wrongly told a software virus was to blame. BT said it randomly chose 36,000 broadband users for a 'small-scale technical trial' in 2006 and 2007. The monitoring system, developed by U.S. software company Phorm, formerly known as 121Media, known for being deeply involved in spyware, accesses information from a computer. It then scans every website a customer visits, silently checking for keywords and building up a unique picture of their interests. Executives insisted they had not broken the law and said no 'personally identifiable information' had been shared or divulged."