The European Commission is to monitor Virgin Media after a privacy group raised concerns over the ISP's plans to trial technology that will identify whether its customers are illegally downloading.

Virgin Media is working in conjunction with Detica, to implement a technology known as CView to identify the type of traffic (email, web surfing, gaming etc) 40 percent of its broadband connections are being used for.

Any file-sharing activity will be analysed. According to Detica, the system can identify whether the download is simply family photos or a music album, and if so the artist and title.

Alexander Hanff from Privacy International told the BBC: "Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) intercepting communications is a criminal offence regardless of what you do with the data."

Hanff also urged the European Commission to investigate the use of CView.

However, Emma Hutchinson from Virgin Media told The Guardian the software does not break the law.

"CView works at a core-network level, and simply analyses, entirely anonymously, the percentage of data that flows across the network that is copyrighted and being shared unlawfully."

"At no point will we collect or share customer data as part of this trial," Hutchinson added, admitting the trial was still in the planning stages and did not currently have a start date.

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