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back to article Charter suspends NebuAd data-pimping experiment

Charter Communications has suspended plans to deploy NebuAd's web usage tracking technology following howls of protest from critics who say that practice seriously compromised the privacy of subscribers. Charter, which is the biggest US-based internet service provider to test the NebuAd system, abruptly changed course on Tuesday …

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Anonymous Coward

It is a man in the middle attack (on our privacy)

NebuAds data pimping experiment is little different to BT/Phorm/webwise system.

The quicker the general population realise this the better. What worries me is these companies who are courting the ISP's to allow their surveillance systems to intercept all our HTTP web data seem to have strong connections with spyware and adware. Phorm/121Media and NebuAd with Gator.

Doesn't anybody else seem its strange that these spyware related companies used to be the cause of thousands of unnecessary calls by customers to those same ISP's they are now courting. Their adware and rootkit infestations caused lots of wrongly targeted complaints that to those ISP's and it is worrying that ISP's can be taken in by the smell of money and disregard their customers privacy.

Phorm and the like WILL BE STOPPED. Please complain to your MP's and ISP's now.

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RW
Happy

Do Phorm & Nebuad violate copyright?

Seems to me that when a server sends a page to a browser, somebody, somewhere has copyright in that page.

If, as I understand it, Phorm & their buddies intend to supplant supplied ads with ones of their choosing, or tack on additional ads, that's an unauthorized alteration of the webpage -- and for commercial purposes. A clear violation of the copyright since the practice can't be justified as fair use.

Anybody know a good, vicious, piranha-like IP lawyer? Or perhaps Google might have a thing or two to say about the hijacking of their web pages.

I smile at the thought of someone entangling these jerks in endless legal nonsense on this account.

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Paris Hilton

Do these companies not listen to each other?

How could NebuAd think that, based on the kind of negative feedback Phorm has received in the UK (thanks to consumers, rather than government weighing in) that the climate would be any more favourable in the US? If anything, the States are arguably MORE litigious when it comes to matters of personal privacy and freedoms.

It amazes me that companies such as NebuAd, FrontPorch and Phorm even think there's a potential market to bring their 'services' to.

Paris because even not even she is stupid enough to back one of these companies!

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Anonymous Coward

Heres hoping...

Phorm, Virgin, BT and anyone else gets the message too.

Oh look... "Bacon" squadron is doing a flyby!

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@Christopher Woods

Sure they listen to each other, but each one of themselves considers their products completely unique.

Also NebuAd has gone through considerable trouble to be low key (check out their website) and no where does it talk about their UPA devices...

Someone should research their hard products and find out what they're selling to ISP's to intercept/reroute traffic with. Shouldn't be too hard - there's a special extension when you call their office for UPA support.

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Not to mention...

While each of these drive-by-ad companies have insisted that only existing ad spaces will be used for their 'targeted' ads, none of them has addressed the elephant in the room, namely: CPM and PPC payments

- I have contracted banner ads on my site.

- NebuAd replaces my banners with their 'targeted' ads

- Who pays me for showing those ads, and at what payment rate?

- How does this affect my conversion statistics and analysis?

- What about my AdSense/Yahoo/Amazon ad blocks? Are they targets, too?

I do not see how replacing my contracted ads with ads of their algorithm's choosing could benefit me in any way. I can only hope that this suspension of the Charter test will give time to get answers to these and the dozens of other questions this technology brings up.

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I don't see...

...how an [internet-based] Ad company that does user-specific targetted ads is operating legally w/o explicit user consent. Could'nt enough people harass their government representatives to make it outright/obviously illegal for such practice? Or are there too much money pouring in to the government official's pockets from these companies that makes such actions futile?

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@RW

Phorm and these other bottom feeders are planning to strip the ads of the webpages you view and replace them with other ones. They are planning to be in the syndication business. They pay websites to carry ads, and they sell that screen space to companies that want to advertise. They expect to be able to charge more for this space by being able to target those ads more closely to things that the user might be interested in.

I agree with your other point however. If phorms computers are listening in to the data coming from a webserver to a clients PC or visa versa they are stealing copyrightable data. Image you are in business providing reports on something or other. Your users pay you to get access to your reports. If phorm are reading the returned webpages they a stealing your lively hood - This is every bit as much a crime as downloading music or films that you have not paid for.

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Alert

@rw

the way it works is that websites whom partner with these companies will display ads based on other websites you have visited. No more ads will be seen, and they dont alter the page of non partnered websites.

The issue is a privacy and security one, not a "you're replacing my ads" one.

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@Dazed & Chad

Thx. Answers the questions I posted.

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Bronze badge

My problem...

...is that they *still* haven't noticed that web-site browsing involves two entities: the web-site and the viewer. And as a web-site owner, they are using my data free of charge to make a profit.

Are they going to pay *me* for use of my web-site's data as they build up the profiles of their users? Didn't think so.

I know other companies (for example, web index engines like Google) also use the data on my web-site to make a profit, but (again, looking at Google) at least they provide an indexing service for my site, which I consider a good-enough return for my site's data (in this case).

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The ISP's still peddle this shit

"structure an advertising service that enhances the internet experience for our customers"

Someone, and theres a cash prize, tell me how targeting adverts at me in anyway improves my internet experiance.

Yes web pages need to pay for themselves, mostly with adverts. But thats not targeted (any more than them putting adds on their pages that the average visitor to the page would look at)

But I already pay the ISP for my connection. Why should the ISP get paid twice for my connection?

If it was actually free, then they could do what the hell they wanted (and i would still pay to have a safe ISP)

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Anonymous Coward

God bless America (No, really, just for once!)

So, in the states data-pimpers have several Congressmen, 15 privacy organisations and "at least one state law enforcer on their back. In the UK the total credible opposition amounts to one Cambridge Professor and one extremely dedicated private individual, Alex Hanff.

Our information Commissioner issues wildly conflicting statements, then broadly concludes he's happy, in spite of the fact phorm are contravening his own rules. The telecoms regulator doesn't have the slightest interest, the Home Office and the Police play at "pass the hot potato" while denying it's anything at all to do with them and our privacy campaigners take the devils coin and get played for mugs, producing a report broadly giving phorm a pat on the back for effort.

Perhaps giving up that green card years ago wasn't such a good idea.

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Alien

Oh yes, it will .... oh no, it won't

"Phorm and the like WILL BE STOPPED. Please complain to your MP's and ISP's now." ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 25th June 2008 19:19 GMT

Admire your enthusiasm, AC, but finding Need and supply Feed generates Industry/Energy/Money/Power .... in Fact, Everything.

It is naive to think that there will be any choice in Technology providing that information .... and here is another reason why ...... http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34584720-post10185.html

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Paris Hilton

Intresting,

Now I don't know if this would apply in this country, but if phroms webwise service does the same as neubad system. Then surly this would be a breach of numorus sections of the misuse of computers act.

For example if phroms system does exactally the same as nebuad system and if the findings from Rob Topski are correct, then this clear would be a breach of the misuse of computers act. As by forging packets to believe they are from a trusted source. Would be covered by the unlawful modification also as described in Rob Topski report. The forged packets are exactally the same as a xss attack aswell as a man in the middle attack. Which I believe are both illegal under the misuse of computers act.

Therefore it would be intresting to see if this is the case next phrom decided test with one of there so-called partners, we can see if they are doing the same and if so report them to the national hi-tech crime unit.

Paris Because, even she knows leaving traces of stuff can get you in trouble *LVD*

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Black Helicopters

Superdatabase......

The only reason that i think the UK government is sticking its fingers in its ears about the whole thing (and not upsetting the ISP's and Phorm et al), is that it ties in quite nicely with their plans for a superdatabase of all communications (including e-mails and phone calls) being planned under the pretence of "terror prevention".

Its 1984 all over again, and big brother isn't just watching you, he is living in your spare house, shagging your wife, eating your food, watching your tv, using all the hot water you were going to use for a nice relaxing bath and hes not even paying any soddin rent!!!!

I would say which coat was mine, but i dont want them knowing what I'm wearing when they intercept this posting and come looking for me......

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