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back to article CPW builds wall between customers and Phorm

Carphone Warehouse has become the first of the three UK ISPs who have agreed to pimp data to ad targeting outfit Phorm to announce a major rethink of how it will use the technology. Company representatives have told users in forums that they are working on a way to ensure that traffic from people who opt out will never enter the …

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Paris Hilton

The real answers...

"I didn't switch on this service. Why do I have to switch it off?"

"Because BT's shareholders love money. They love it so much, that they would even sell your private data to gain money. Money is so important to them, that they think it is worth increasing the risk of compromisation of the network, increase the cost of said risk, violate your right to privacy, and lie to you. That is how great BT's commitment to money is. Please note that, at no time will you, the consumer, benefit from BT's increased revenue. If you find that you have in some way benefitted, please contact BT Customer Disservice so that your account can be downgraded. Please allow 4-6 weeks for someone to someone to help you."

</sarcasm>

"BT is beginning a trial of Phorm's ad targeting technology with 10,000 consumers this month, under a changed privacy policy."

Somehow I think this isnt the first trial, contrary to popular belief.

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At least someone is listening...

Carphone Warehouse announcing opt-in only and promising not to send any data from people who haven't opted in at least shows someone is listening. Whether they reverse that decision in the forthcoming months remails to be seen!

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PHRM.L

Why does Phorm's ticker symbol look so much like a virus name?

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Coat

Proxy server

Isn't the answer simply to tell those who WANT to opt-in that they need to simply configure their browsers to use a proxy and then the phorm spyware can simply run against that proxy?

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Stop

These people are so far up their arse ...

They never thought that the customers mightn't like this idea. Even worse, they appear to have built the system without a thought as to how traffic can by-pass Phorm's systems.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Speaking of which, this did make me laugh: http://www.badphorm.co.uk/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?667

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Interestingly,

I contacted my bank about this asking for comment, however, they appear to be plainly ignoring me.

I hate big companies.

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Ian

CPW: The Smart Ones

At the moment there are three classes of ISPs: those that are pimping data, those that appear to be saying things to avoid pimping data, those that are saying nothing. CPW are the only members of the second category: Phorm may claim them as a customer, but if there's no kit installed and they're already talking about an opt-in scheme (presumably Phorm offer a revenue split). So CPW are positioning themselves neatly to capture the diaspora from BT: unlike random ISP X who might sign their souls to Phorm the day after you switch to them, CPW are saying clearly (a) opt-in and (b) those that don't opt-in will be fenced off so their data doesn't hit Phorm's boxes.

Since the set of people who will opt-in is small, CPW have just for practical purposes announced they reckon recruiting Phorm refusnik's from BT is a better business model than taking Phorm's money. I reckon that's the end of Phorm, and BT's next move will be interesting and crucial. That BT have been caught lying about trials in the summer won't go well for them, either.

Stock price down 30%, one major `customer' distancing themselves and another being neutral means that BT are now the only major customer of a shareholder toxic, PR toxic spyware company. Not a nice place to be.

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Happy

Investors must actually read more than the prospectus

"Phorm closed the day down 31 per cent"

Isn't it wonderful what a bit of rude journalism can do to a sleasy business plan?

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Stop

Petition the Prime Minister - 2,641 and counting :)

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop ISP's from breaching customers privacy via advertising technologies.

Deadline to sign up by: 04 March 2009 – Signatures: 2,641

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm/

---

35% down - :-D

Joy!

---

<rant on>

Phcukoff Phorm!... Phcukoff Phorm!... Phcukoff Phorm!... ESADMFB's

<rant off>

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Thumb Down

Sign the petition

There is a petition here - 2600+ have already:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm/

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Law
Dead Vulture

@ Jonathan

You accidentally added a </sarcasm> tag....

The bird, because trying to reason with ISP's is like feeding tomato ketchup to a sleeping vulture.... messy and fruitless! :)

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Happy

As a CPW user...

I'm actually marginally impressed with their reaction to their punters. Over the last few days, I've been looking at alternative providers to the one I have with CPW, even though this one is free (I have my landline with them). I would have been prepared to leave a decent enough* free service with CPW and pay for another one purely because of this Phorm stupidity.

Based on this, I'll delay making a decision. If CPW make their arrangements with Phorm on a purely opt-in basis, and they **guarantee** that none of my data will be piped **anywhere**, anonymous or not, then I'll stay where I am. Obviously I won't be "opting in" to Phorm's malware...

*yes, yes, I know, everyone hates CPW Broadband. But it's free, it's a reasonable speed (I average 5MB/s) and the download limit (40GB/month IIRC) is more than generous enough for my needs, especially when compared to comparable offerings from Sky / Orange etc which limit to 2GB/month.

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Happy

The real question is.....

.....what kind of idiot buys stock in a unproven dotcom, with a shady probably-illegal business plan, who are former spyware pushers, who aren't earning any money at all until the system goes live?

I don't know much about the stock market, but i do like the look of the *plummeting* line on that stock page.

Thanks El Reg!

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How about a rebate

IF, people have nothing to worry about with their privacy,and if these 3 isp's are confident that it is so good perhaps knocking £2 a month off your line rental for opting in to this service would be a suitable recompense to the people concerned....

Personally i wouldn't consider it and if i were a customer of these ISP's i would leave,but thats just me.I would suggest that any customers of theirs who feel strongly enough about their privacy should do the same.

For those who do consider signing up to this trial please ensure that BT are responsible for everthing that Phorm do with the collected data and again if they are not willing to take responsibility then dont do it !!!!

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Happy

As another CPW customer...

I have nothing to fear, as I can never connect to the internet anyway.

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Why are they selling your data....

When you government has given it away several times.

Have they found those CD's yet?

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Thumb Up

I got a reply from Virgin

Me:

"You are losing me as a customer if you go ahead with implementing Phorm's

data-mining package. A system like this should be opt-in." - Jared Earle, Geek

Reply:

"Please be assured that no decision has been made in terms of how we could

implement this technology. " - Neil Berkett, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Media

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Happy

This May Be Progress

But the battle is far from over. There is still more to do to show Phorm up for the slime that it is, get these ISPs to recognise that and drop Phorm completely.

Nice to see that informed customers (which we generally are here) can speak up, make a noise and make a difference to dipshit companies looking to screw customers. Oh dear, the share price has taken a bit of a dive. Can't think why.

The word is starting to spread.

Never thought I'd say this about CPW but they've actually listened to their customers and responded positively to them. Smart move, that.

Now if CPW can implement a system which prevents customers' data being passed to Phorm, why can't BT and VM?

Still waiting for a response from VIrgin Media, btw.

Smile because this is, I hope, the start of things swinging our way, Phorm being exposed for the crock that it is and being dumped well and truly. And because the share price dropping cheers me up.

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Ooh, my dicky ticker

@mixbsd: to be fair, I think all stock tickers look like that. Personally, I tittered when I looked at the URL of the stock page linked in the article, which ends PHRM.L&it%3Dle - or as my brain processed it, "PHORM - Let It Die".

Although that drop to £20 per share looks lovely on the graph, at £237m market cap it's still too expensive for us to club together, buy Phorm out and have a BOFH-style ceremony involving us going into their office and throwing all their Big Brother tracking equipment off the roof. Let's keep the negative publicity going - no-one is going to opt-in to this thing (the entire business relies on the apathy of consumers not opting out, so no way are they suddenly going to be able to turn around and rely on them doing the opposite) so all we need is for other companies to follow CPW's lead, and they'll be down to 1p where they belong.

(Actually come to think of it they don't have a proper office to throw their equipment off, just one of those pretend offices with a pretend receptionist, so it'd have to be a ceremonial sledgehammering instead.)

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Thumb Up

@ how about a rebate

I got a call from BT about 4 or 5 days before the shit hit the fan telling me they are reducing my costs by £2.00 per month if I sign up to another 12 month contract..............

well done Carphone Warehouse:

"By making the service opt-in, we feel the onus remains firmly with Phorm to make the service useful and compelling enough that subscribers will choose to join it. If it fails to do this, it will itself fail."

The first time I have EVER seen common sense by any major company!

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Auntie Beeb laps it up

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7289481.stm

Beeb simpletons still drinking the Kool Aid.

Most hilarious quote :

Kent Ertegrul, chief executive of Phorm, told the BBC News website that he was confused about why the issue of opt-in versus opt-out was causing so much controversy.

"There is no way of not knowing that this is switched on. There is a clear choice offered to consumers and I am surprised that there has been so many questions about this. I find it a bit bizarre," he said.

Most dangerously inaccurate quote :

"Phorm works by placing a cookie on a user's machine that contains a randomised identifying number. That cookie tracks websites visited and draws conclusions about a user's behaviour in order to target more relevant adverts."

Ouch.

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Alert

VM Logo missing from Webwise front page

The Virgin Media logo is missing from the Webwise front page. Wonder if something's happened...?

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Alert

@ bobbles31 - banks

I contacted both of my banks, Barclays (personal) and the Co-op (business).

The Co-op got back to me the same day saying that as HTTPS traffic can't be monitored then as far as they're concerned their system is safe. They did say I should push BT for a definitive answer on what ports would be profiled as BT weren't very clear that it would only be port 80.

Barclays took until today to get back to me (from Sat 2nd March) with an apology for the delay, they said the delay was because they needed to consult with BT. Apparently BT has reassured Barclays that HTTPS won't be profiled and BT is satisfied with the situation. They did have a comment that confused me slightly though:

"Whilst this information gathering will not affect your Online Banking service in any way, there could be an increase in marketing related pop-ups which you may need to take action to prevent."

This confused me in a way as I thought I'd get the same number of ads but "targeted". I hope they're not planning on an additional advertising thingy where the Phorm servers in BT's datacentres send additional pop-up adverts. Even they couldn't be that suicidal...

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Anonymous Coward

explicit question of legality to BT

Here's my letter. It explicitly asks them to confirm they haven't done anything illegal with my data. It should have provoked a quick answer; it's a reasonable request:

---

Hi, I came across a disturbing story of BT apparently collaborating

with a company named phorm. Details can be found here

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/29/phorm_roundup/>.

I need to know if

* You have or will have any association with phorm or any other company

for the purpose of mining personal details which goes beyond what is

legal

*any of my details have already been passed to phorm or any other

company without my knowledge

* whether what it is alleged you will pass to phorm (as per URL link

above) or allow phorm to mine, is and has been done legally, as it

seems the extent of this is extreme.

---

They ignored this until I chased it up by phone, upon which I was promised a call back. This didn't come, so I chased again and, again, was promised a call back. Again it didn't come. To miss three opportunities to reply seems to rule out accidental oversight IMO.

I was also told by them verbally that nothing illegal had been done by BT but - and I was told this quite clearly - I would not get that assurance in writing.

Interesting.

So, will be making formal complaint to relevant body ASAP.

I would suggest that others here drop a quick line to their ISP to ask for statements that all their past browsing data has been treated legally.

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Bronze badge

Protection??

"giving you better protection against online fraud and giving you more relevant advertising" (BT)

Ah, yes. "Better protection against online fraud" from the original rootkit folks - 121Media.

Dont'cha just love marketing twats.

No wonder the question/response was "North-Korean'd" out of history.

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Paris Hilton

Why is it so hard to understand?

People **do not want to be advertised at**. It doesn't matter if it's targeted or not. Do people watch TV just to catch the latest ads? No, they bugger off to the kitchen to make a cuppa while that ads are on because that way they're not wasting their time.

Honestly, I'm seriously considering having "I Am Not A Target Market" tatooed under my forehead. Right underneath uk.gov's barcode.

I'm sure Paris will opt-in though - she thinks the BT Broadband ads are a genuine soap.

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Go

Complain to the BBC

If you think the PR story on the BBC News website contains factual inaccuracies (and you may spot one or two!) you can complain about it here http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_3950000/newsid_3955200/3955259.stm

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Stop

2 minor points to note here...

1) If you have savings, investments (like a pension) or an ISA, then YOU are a shareholder of large companies like BT since you savings are invested in the stock market mostly and mostly in blue chip companies that reliably make money.

2) Remeber CPW and the big brother advertising with all the racist stuff going on... well i would be surprised if they are not a bit more savvy about public opionion after that one!

... phuck Phorm and BT and Virgin. CPW has never had my custom so i dont feel i can be so nasty to them.

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Flame

From the patent application

When reading the patent application. Everything Phorm and the PR people say is so much spin it is unbelevable.

The bottom line Is Phorm is messing with web pages, and storing peronal data.

EL REG Please use your power to investigate the Patent application. It says so much more then the PR people.

Just some scary stuff from the patent application

28. The system of claim 27, where the context reading software includes a script, and where the ISP is configured to embed the script into the web page.

(What they Are embeding Script into webpages) They say they are not.!!!

30. The system of claim 28, where the script is configured to cause at least a portion of the browsing information to be stored locally on a computing device running the browser.

(so they are storing browsing info) Even though it is on my PC it is still being stored without my consent..

32. The system of claim 30, where the script is configured to cause at least a portion of the browsing information to be stored remotely at the advertising server system.

(OH and I see you ARE storing my peronal information on your advertising Server) Why do you say publicly you do not do this.

So if they can and do insert Java script into the web pages, then it is likely that they can and will do pop ups.

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Perhaps one reason why the stock is falling

is because the Phorm proposals, whether opt-in or opt-out, are clearly criminal offenses under RIPA?

Opt-in might take care of one part of the consent requirements under RIPA ss. 3(1) - and it might cover some DPA compliance issues, but by no means all - but for interception to be lawful under RIPA ss.3(1) the ISPs also have to get consent from the webservers, and I can't see that happening. They won't get consent to intercept traffic from my sites, that's for sure!

And what if a connection and/or browser is shared? One person might have given consent, but that does not mean that the other sharers have - so the ISPs have to say "is that you?" every time they intercept.

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Paris Hilton

@Fred Karno

I don't know how cheap *your* privacy is but mine is not in the GBP2 per month range. GBP2 may get you a minute when I'm feeling charitable.

Privacy is like virginity - once it's gone you'll never get it back

Paris - well work it out guys :)

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@Jared Earle

Now send them another nastygram saying something along the lines of....."An email saying, 'be assured' constitutes no assurance at all. As an IT professional with influence, I will be leaving Virgin/CPW/BT (delete as applicable), and recommending that friends and customers alike do likewise as soon as practicable."

That should get something a little less anodyne from the b*st*rds.

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Happy

Phorm called off interview.

"Computeractive has asked Phorm for an interview, which was initially granted but then called off. Since then the company has not responded to our requests to talk to us about the technology and address reader's privacy fears."

oh and

"Now the ICO has requested details of the technology and the deal from Phorm and the ISPs involved – BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse."

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Coat

Just canceled

Moved to Zen from Virgin .They are saying it won't be used on their network. Virign told me they had no phorm involvement, which is great considering it's not true.

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What YOU can do

I have been following this whole sorry saga (on El Reg and other outlets) for a while. To me, the past couple of days seem to indicate that the substantial and vocal objection of internet users is having an effect. I say that cautiously, however, and I note the comments of others (above).

I strongly believe it behoves us all - whether we are customers of CPW, Virgin and BT or not - to make as much noise as possible.

If you want to sign online petitions do it; if you want to personally contact your MP do it; if you want to give Phorm itself a roasting do it.

But it's more effective, IMO, to let your ISP know how you feel. After all, it is ISPs who will be intercepting your packets on Phorm's behalf and it is your ISP who will be making money from Phorm. You can obviously use their 'Contact Us' forms and/or their helpdesks and forums. Better yet, though, to dig around a little and find out the name of the ISP's CEO, the Technical Director (or equivalent) and the Head of Customer Services (if they have one). Then let those officers have it by name! And if you can't find an email adress for the individual, try that old-fashioned communication channel - write them a letter. That'll surprise the buggers!

More generally, it also helps the cause if the media sees a lot of public interest in the story. So every time you read an article online or on paper about Phorm, respond and comment. Oh, and corny as it sounds, try writing to the letters page of your local paper.

Or, of course, you can just sit on your hands and whinge. Then watch your port 80 traffic being monitored by money-grabbing sharp shits in suits and your broadband speed taking a nosedive.

It may sound dated and naive but the cry must be "power to the people." Do whatever you can to phuck Phorm.

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Flame

BBC Keeps Changing its Story

I noticed that the last article they did, changed dramatically from when it was first posted - this wasn't advertised by the BBC though ;)

This time I am saving snapshots here are the most dramatic changes so far :

NEW

"Campaigner Simon Davies was asked to assess its privacy measures as part of the work he does for privacy start-up 80/20.

He believed the system "advances the whole sector of protecting personal information by two or three steps", although he was not sure that the public was ready to buy into behavioural advertising. "

OLD

Head of Privacy International Simon Davies was invited to assess its privacy measures and he believed the system "advances the whole sector of protecting personal information by two or three steps", although he was not sure that the public was ready to buy into behavioural advertising.

NEW

Kent Ertegrul, chief executive of Phorm, told the BBC News website that he was confused about why the issue of opt-in versus opt-out was causing so much controversy.

"There is no way of not knowing that this is switched on. There is a clear choice offered to consumers and I am surprised that there has been so many questions about this. I find it a bit bizarre," he said.

For him the service is a win win for consumers.

"Having advertising behind it allows for better, cheaper broadband," he said.

OLD

>No Mention - Phorm's PR must have been straight on the phone to their friends at the BBC

Also The BBC say 1,000 signed the petition - actually its 2,700+

No link to the petition but links to Phorm's PR!

No mention that even if you opt out of Virgin or BT's scheme your information still hits the profiler! They just promise not to look!!!

That is the reason the CFW(TalkTalk) are changing their system to opt in and segregating the opt out user - so they don't get intercepted by any of Phorm's kit!

How could the BBC miss this?

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Watch out for the language

"so it doesn't hit a Webwise server at all for those that opt out,"

could well mean that you still get your stuff passed to the profiler, which of course is ISP owned and not a webwise server.

Notice how they are still talking of "opt out" while saying it'll be opt in only. Maybe they will genuinely count everyone not specifically opted in as being opted out, and maybe when they say opt in they mean anyone who simply clicks the O.K button.

Every company signed up to this obviously thought it was a great idea at one point, and saw no problem with it. Just because they are facing bad press does not mean they are suddenly trustworthy.

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Alert

Blackmail? What if MP's/Judges/Police Officers where opted in?

Just occurred to me that I haven't seen any details of a source code audit by any government.

Just to check there are no back doors.

e.g. What if MP's/Judges/Police Officers where opted in...

If Phorm was comprised the cracker would know their browsing habits and could blackmail them.

hmmm...

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/investing-and-markets/article.html?in_article_id=430955&in_page_id=3

"The development team for the new software was recruited from Moscow's elite Lebedev Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering, a vital part of of the Cold War spying effort and still a centre for developing Russia's 'national security' computer systems."

Oh well thats ok then :)

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Unhappy

Home Office says Maybe

http://www.badphorm.co.uk/news.php?item.18.1k has a link to the advice given by Simon Watkin of the Home Office in January regarding targeted advertising, although he stresses that the courts remain the final arbitrators of the act (RIPA). At the risk of summarising a summary, it basically says targeted advertising as described by Phorm (though not named explicitly) is probably legal if the ISP customer explicitly consents. More worrying is that it may also be lawful if the ISP can show that it is " being provided in connection with the telecommunication service provided by the ISP in the same way as the provision of services that examine e-mails for the purposes of filtering or blocking spam or filtering web pages to provide a specifically tailored content service". It gives an example of an ISP screening out religiously offensive material (do they do that?). This looks like a loophole, clearly not what the act intended but could conceivably stand up in court with the right PR.

Yes, it looks like he bought into the idea that selecting ads for you is an 'essential service'!

So it is not stretching the point too far to say that the Home Office gave this a green light in January, subject to it being tested in court.

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Happy

Ertugrul(Phorm) gets savaged and is obviously on the defensive.

The chairman of the company whose advertising model has caused a storm answers your questions

* Charles Arthur ,

* guardian.co.uk,

* Tuesday March 11 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/audio/2008/mar/11/charles.arthur.phorm

Charles has done his research, well done that man :)

Going to listen to it again - I'm sure Ertugrul sidestepped the "opted out users info is still passed to the profiler" question...

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Paris Hilton

Time to Fork Off ....

Far be it for me to tell the illustrious El Reg hacks how to do their jobs, but it looks to me like there are two breaking stories here: one is 'Phorm are spyware scumbags after all' as per this story; and the other is 'ISPs courted by lots of other data pimps' based on the information supplied by the original (anonymous) poster:

"Phorm was late into the UK market. They really are just 'one of the many' who have also been trying to get into the UK market.

Here are some other behaviour target suppliers for you to get excited about - if your ISP is not looking at Phorm, they could well be looking at the competition.

The USA and Canadian ISPs have been signed up to this crowd for months, with daily installations.

NebuAd

Phorm

FrontPorch

Project Rialto

Adzilla

I hope other readers here can add to the list."

One that I found most intriguing was Project Rialto which describes itself as "a stealth company" and has job ads for software engineers with "focus on high-speed packet analysis", and some of the others which appear to have patents pending for essentially the same design as Phorm (I wonder how many of the buyers of Phorm stock know about that?)

Paris who allegedly knows about forking..

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RE: Ertugrul(Phorm) gets savaged

When asked how they get around the fact that cookies are only sent to the originating domain, he spouts complete BS about proprietary technology.

Either they are using bog standard 302 redirection headers, or they are putting cookies into every connection which means they must be tying cookies into an ID assigned by the ISP per machine (rather like an IP address). Neither 302 headers or cookies are proprietary.

He keeps trying to imply it's a case of putting cookies into other domains, which is total bollocks if their opt out can work by denying cookies from oix. A block on cookies from oix would not block cookies that were inserted into other domains.

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Anonymous Coward

Dephorming the business model

I don't want to detract from the publicity campaign which is essential, but technical counter-measures can also help if they threaten to undermine phorm's business model. Hopefully the scallywags would then find funding a bit more difficult.

The dephormation Firefox addon looks great. By randomising cookies it ensures that the ads it receives cannot be targeted. But remember that Firefox has only a minor market share.

However, ads delivered by phorm are going to be easy to identify (much easier than the ads that AdBlock Plus has to deal with, for example). So maybe dephormation should deliberately download these ads time and time again (and discard them, of course). If each ad was served 10 times, subject to bandwidth, the effectiveness of dephormation would be multiplied by this factor. Advertisers would be paying for a large fraction of their advertisements to go in the bin. I can't see them liking that much.

Of course, this doesn't have to be a Firefox addon. A standalone web spider would do the job just as well.

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Anonymous Coward

"Free consumer internet feature Webwise"

Loved the Phorm statement:

"...a free consumer internet feature, Webwise, which results in fewer irrelevant advertisements and additional protection against fraudulent websites."

Sounds just like my patented beheading technology, which, through the removal of your head, results in you not having to receive any adverts whatsoever, ever again.

Furthermore, in conjunction with several major ISUs*, I have decided to "opt in" the directors of certain spyware-producing companies by default.

___

* Internet Service Users

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Unhappy

If its good for you its probably legal

Based on the Home Office advice mentioned above, it would seem that if the ISP can position this as primarily an anti-phishing service, with the 'added bonus' of targeted advertising, it could be legal under RIPA. This in the same way as, for example, the ISP already scans all of your mail to screen out spam and viruses.

So that explains why the whole Webwise PR is around the 'safer experience'; not just for the benefit of 'poor dumb customers'.

Clearly they would rather have some sort of opt-out mechanism as a sop, preferably one that doesn't work too well, but they probably figure they are OK without it.

And the fact that the HO casually describes the ISP screening out 'unsuitable' material from web pages says a lot about how it values individual freedom, ie not at all.

So the best way to oppose this is probably to scare the ISPs with potentially disgruntled customers and their potential liability for the content of hosted sites.

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RIPA tripper

It doesn't sound to me like the Home Office advised phorm that this would be legal under RIPA. It sounds to me as if they advised them that it would only be legal IF it was essential to the service that the ISP is contracted to provide.

This explains the anti-phishing angle, which was always a bit of a puzzle, given that it's tacked on for no obvious reason. Now we see why. There is a precedent for ISPs to intercept spam, so intercepting phishing might also arguably be legal.

However, I can't see how you can slip the targeted advertising in under this disguise. Clearly it would be possible to provide the anti-phishing without the targeted advertising, so in no way is the latter an essential part of the service. The two things wouldn't require the same infrastructure either.

If the ISPs try to argue that they're contracted to provide an "internet experience" of which advertising is a part, then a whole ton of bricks will fall on them over every disagreeable "experience" anyone has on the internet. Ouch!

I look forward to phorm's spin being cross-examined in court.

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Stop

Phorm's software intercepts 9m UK citizens but no software audit?

So the Home Office is going to let Phorm's software intercept 9million UK citizens Internet and they aren't insisting on a source code audit by GCHQ?

Also any code changes would need re licensing, any mechanism in place for this?

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Happy

Slowly, the truth emerges and now we see...

...huge yellow slab like somethings, huge as office blocks, silent as birds, which hung in the air exactly the same way that Phorm's stock doesn't.

The problem with an educated population is that it asks questions; really pertinent questions; questions to which an answer is either extremely damaging to admit to OR which is just a downright lie to state. Phorm (and lets not forget Virgin and BT) chose to lie; CPW decided that discretion was the better part of valour and are already scraping back some semblence of credibility. The solution, of course, is to phuk up the education system some more so that nobody has sufficient common sense to see these [grrrrrr better not type that phrase] for what they really are.

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Paris Hilton

Is the CDT really up to speed on this?

In the El Reg article, Ari Schwartz, chief operating officer of the Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT), is quoted as saying:

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Schwartz said: "When we first met with Phorm they actually told us they had all of the ISPs on board." He believes the reception ad targeting based on users' browsing habits will get Stateside is dependent on how it is rolled out. "Simply clicking 'OK' on the first sign up screen is not good enough because we know people don't read those things."

"There are precedents where the FTC has ruled that's an unfair practice."

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For those who may only have read the original article - still in Google's cache -

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:G43IReSQBYIJ:www.clickz.com/showPage.html%3Fpage%3D3628633+phorm+%2Bnebuad&hl=en

there is now an update at the bottom of the page

http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3628633

which indicates that NebuAd are claiming to "track Internet usage of millions of U.S. users, or about 10 percent of the U.S. online audience". As they are only one of the many players in this market, how many American internet users are now benefiting from this system without noticing the wording in the T&C provided by their ISP? - every supplier of the profiler whose website I have looked at makes the ISP responsible for updating their T&C and Privacy Statements and getting customer consent.

I have not seen one USA poster here mention that this is even common stream in America. People I have contacted in the USA about this have never heard about any of it: one uses ad networks to monetise his sites, so he should be within a group of people who are aware of the benefits from the website publisher's point of view, the other is the head of an internet marketeers organisation that has many members across various internet marketing fields, and there again no knowledge about any ISP involvement.

Perhaps the CDT will start to investigate how this is being sold for those the other side of the pond? Wake up America.

How is it that so many articles about Phorm, NebuAd, et al are just being updated with the real facts rather than a whole new article being written. Anyone reading the original Clikz article would not get very excited about 10,000 - 30,000 users being on the system. But, 10% of internet users and more profilers being installed daily? - now there is a story worth investigating.

Another point I find interesting is that, in the US model, 10,000 - 30,000 users represents one installation of the profiling equipment and BT is about to roll it out to 10,000 users. Perhaps the slow responses form VM and CPW are more down to waiting for reports from their cost accountants on the minimum number of subscribers that make the profiler profitable. BT already have the profiler installed(?) so rolling out the system will only serve to offset the costs of installing the profiler/s.

Paris - because the questions are growing faster than the answers.

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