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back to article Phorm boss blogs from a dark, dark place

Phorm boss Kent Ertugrul has launched an extraordinary attack on critics of the snooping technology used by his company to target internet advertising. His website, the pithily-named Stop Phoul Play, describes criticism of Phorm as a "smear campaign" and people who make such complaints as "privacy pirates". The Register even …

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Pirate

A whole website....

dedicated to Kent Ertugrul throwing toys out of his pram.

Top entertainment!

Nice "Privacy Pirate" (whatever that is)....

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"Stop Phoul Play"

(a.k.a. If at phirst you don't succeed, phail, phail, phail again. How desperate are they becoming?)

Nice to see you got a name check "The Register - a publication that appears to have abrogated [sic] to itself the role of unquestioning mouthpiece of the privacy pirates..."

I think they meant "arrogate" - but full marks for the boo-word "pirate". Gotta love the logic: all property is theft, so because I own stuff I am a thief.

Also noted the fact that their blog does not permit comments, which is a shame because I so much wanted to tell them - before the medication wears off - how much I look forward to being deeply probed by Phorm.

PS Please can we have a "lobbing shoe" icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Collusion

"If we agree this, and this becomes our position do you think your clients and their prospective partners will be comforted "

As that is from the HO to Phorm I fail to see how anyone can describe it as anything but collusion.

As Kurt, the man has obviously just lost the plot.

If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or even Steve Ballmer wrote stuff like that I think the board of directors would have serious concerns.

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Anonymous Coward

Hahahahahahhaha....

ahahahhahahahhahahaahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahaahahhahahha

ahahahhahahahahahaha

... and so on.

Why doesn't he just get the hint? Nobody actually wants Phorm, not punters, not marketing types and especially not website owners (it's OUR copyrighted content they're intending to scrape ffs) - nobody except the odd ISP attempting to commit corporate suicide and of course, Phorm themselves.

Hiding in a bunker and yelling "the world is out to get me" is not the sign of the most rational of minds however - perhaps that's why he's persisting in this farce. Next he'll be sitting around reading "Guns and Ammo" and masturbating into his own faeces.

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Anonymous Coward

Home Office contradicts itself. Again.

"We are committed to protecting the privacy of UK consumers and will ensure any new technology of this sort is applied in an appropriate and transparent manner, in full accordance with the law and with proper regulation from the appropriate authority."

Someone had better tell Wacki Jaqui about this, before she puts inappropriate and opaque spying technology in every ISP. Presumably she can just override the law and regulations as they're just barriers put up by people with something to hide.

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Thumb Up

LMAO

Privacy Pirates FTW

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Doom and gloom

It's good for Baroness Miller to be doing this, fantastic I am right behind her, so to speak! I want this damn thing laid to rest once and for all, but my hopes for the gov to do the right thing are fading fast.

In the end, given the sleaze that runs this and any government, do you really think Phorm can be defeated? The gov wants something, the gov gets it! Arms deals are a prime example. We are top 5 in the world for arms producers. Arms deals are underwritten by the UK tax payer, common knowledge. We sell to some tinpot nutter in Africa, he defaults the loan and we the tax payer bail out BEA systems an independent company. Now if the HM gov are willing to bail out millions of pounds of defaulted loans for a UK arms company, do you really think the rights of a few whinging nerds are going to be respected in the face of cold, hard cash?

There is a massive incentive for the gov to get this tech put in, especially given the announcement yesterday, no DB but snooping at ISP level all the same. Kurt's gall and imagination are second to none, "Adware is easy to defeat, but suppose you can put it out of reach of the plebs, someone must be willing to pay?".

In my opinion, Kurt cannot be buried alive, quick or deep enough with his "mate" Jacqui "bend the British public over and lube up" Smith!

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Black Helicopters

Oops.

>The Home Office ... "We are committed to protecting the privacy of UK consumers"

Lie. If that was true, then Ertugrul and a good chunk of the board of BT would be in jail.

More in tone with the main part of the article, Ertugrul is banging on about an orchestrated campaign against Phorm. Sorry, but I don't want anything to do with the scheme, and I am nothing to do with any organised opposition. I've read stuff in the papers that worried me, done the research and decided that Phorm is a gross invasion of privacy and hence Ertugrul can go Phuck himself (yeah, I probably nicked that from one of the campaigners)

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Mat

If Kent's product is worth *anything*

He will let it speak for itself and not be bothered about whether or not the Security Experts like it or not. Surely all this crying about a conspiracy theory is just drawing attention to his product as the worthless invasion of privacy that it is! that it is!

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Black Helicopters

Smell a rat?

I wonder how many of the 'inaccurate rantings of the serial agitators' have actually been posted by phorm's latest PR goons so that Ertegrul can then complain about them on his blog? Every time they change PR company they go through the same predictable list of 'PR 101' actions.

Well over 10000 people signed the Downing St petition against phorm - were they all brainwashed by Hanff?

Bizzarely the phrasing and grammar of the articles in the phorm blog seems very similar to the phishing emails that plague our inboxes. Same slavic 'please trust us we are being very reasonable, honest' tone...hmm.

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Phorm in death throws...?

Stop Phoul Play (http://www.stopphoulplay.com/) sounds like the last gasp flailing of an organisation not long for this world to me (we live in hope!).

It's so unfair isn't it, how all these nasty people are ganging up on poor ol' Phorm, who just want to improve BT customers (not me, I jumped ship when the news came out) web experience and safety....sic ;)

Matt :)

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Flame

For clarification...

"In other Phorm news, the BBC has seen emails between Phorm and the Home Office" .....

Is this "Home Office" Politicos (Sec of State, Ministers, "Special Advisors" et al) or is this "Home Office" Civil Servants? If politicos then it's bad enough but Phorm are allowed to lobby. If it is the Civil Servants then I trust the Cabinet Secretary will be providing short sharp words of guidance on "supping with the devil" - so to speak - unless, that is, Phorm technology is all part of a grand plan our Masters and Betters have for keeping us in line and snooping upon us?

I've got nothing to hide but I'm damned if I give away, for free, information to any old Tom, Dick or Harry who can pay for it so they can profile me and then determine if I'm part of their market.

Damn Phorm and all their works

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Pirate

Privacy Pirates?

Pirates take something which is not theirs. Surely Captain Kent and his Scurvy crew are the pirates here, as they want to help themselves to our data.

I wonder if he's part Samoan?

Arr!

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Flame

You have to laugh at the desperate astroturfing...

...from the 'former spyware peddler'.

Hey, it's in quotes so it's not necessarily my opinion...

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Does Kurt's attack on Mr Hanff make him..........

A Nappy Slapper?

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Haha nutters

They seem rather paranoid I'll bet they are scared of these competitors profiling them...

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Joke

May I be the first........

to say Phuck Of Phorm

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Black Helicopters

Can I be the first to suggest.....

.......that we now refer to Kent Ertugrul as Kent "no one wants to play with me so I'm gonna play with myself" Ertugrul.

Wowsers, doesn't surprise me that the Home Office were being "helped" by Phorm - they are probably staffed by the likes of Tim "Nice but Dim" who can't spell technology let alone give a sound and reasoned advice on such things.

Not that Kent and co would have had political advantage to help gain a market share - oh no.....

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Flame

Ad Ops Directors views confirmed by this blog

This is another example of how Phorm wants to denounce people with serious concerns - its a very desperate measure though.

However, it is very typical of their views - for example, Phorm's Ad Ops Director David Borrows calls the people listed on the above site 'the tin foil hat brigade'. Just shows you how serious they take citizen's privacy concerns.

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Unhappy

A question seeking an honest answer

I want to get as far away from BT as possible, for a variety of reasons, not least of which is all this Phorm 'business'. Can anybody suggest a broadband ISP (and phone line provider, TV not required) as I have had little luck so far.

Thanks in advance.

Dave.

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Boffin

Phorm is phorm not DPI

@ Maurice S et al

Let's be clear, 'phorm technology' is about spying on people to send them targeted adverts. Conveniently the DPI equipment installed by most ISPs saves them having to trick you into downloading spyware as in the past.

The government can already spy on anyone it wants to using the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology already installed at most ISPs. In fact this capability comes built-in to the typical routers from Cisco et al used by most ISPs, as does bandwidth throttling, account quotas, and all the other stuff that goes with the territory. DPI is not inherently evil, it can be a force for good, eg preventing malware and SPAM. But you have to have to trust the organisation operating it not to abuse it. And therein lies the problem, eh BT?

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Anonymous Coward

Thank God ...

... it looks as if it may have been nipped in the bud, before becoming pandemic.

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helllllp

I watch TV i get adverts, I listen to the radio i get adverts, i open my email i get adverts, i visit a website there i get adverts, i open the paper i get adverts,i drive to work i see adverts, i take a train i get adverts, i put my pint on the beermat and there bubbling thru my brew is...adverts.

I live in a world surrounded by adverts, if theres one thing i neither want nor need it has to be more bloody ways to get adverts.

paris, because at least she gives a kiss before she fucks you.

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Black Helicopters

Stop Phoul Play

I have visited the website and watched and read some of the articles. It does appear to be a little bit of a rant and he does address the issues head on.

For example: Courts make the Laws not the Home Office. Ahem

The Home Office advises which Laws should and shouldn't be written and enforced at the behest of the Government or in this case PHORM.. But I guess this service is free to anyone who has enough money to buy off a Lord or Politician or 2. And if this isn't true, why ask them for advice in the first place?

No Personal Information is kept. Even for a second: How would they possibly sell their system to advertisers if they can't prove click through.

Some questions I didn't get answered is:

How do I stop NTL/Virgin from adopting this technology.

I don't need anymore advertisements of the websites I visit. 'El Reg take note' Nobody minds the odd advert but a tailored ad' on every page. No thank you. Ad's are usually tailored to look OK on a page. How do you propose to slip you ad in un-noticed. And if click-thought isn't sufficient will they start flashing and distracting me from the page/picture I want.

How will I prevent my young daughters from seeing ad's which are based on my surfing habits. Not suitable for person under age of 16.

Will this slow down my Broadband? I would imagine so.

What is in this for me. You will get paid for your ad's Will my broadband get cheaper because I view your targeted ad's.

Will you ad's stifle competition on the internet. Will Amazon suddenly appear as a Page 404.

And finally what have they been speaking to Jacqui Smith about? Where do PHORM sit with the new data retention laws?

Seems to me you are in a position to take full advantage of the Governments request.

And finally. Is there a smear campaign. Yes because nobody asked before this was tested and we worry that it will happen again.

Can we have a wicked PHORM Icon - RED Eye - Watching Icon please

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Stop

LMAO!!!!

"We are committed to protecting the privacy of UK consumers and will ensure any new technology of this sort is applied in an appropriate and transparent manner, in full accordance with the law and with proper regulation from the appropriate authority."

from the gov! that defines irony surely!? they are so concerned with our privacy they are about to PAY my ISP to spy on me, and are being taken to court by the EU over PHORM.

if it wasnt so worrying it might be amusing!

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Stop

Utterly dismayed by the mainstream media and its silent acquiescence.

This link between the Phorm and the Home Office should be front page news. It proves how close the Home Office is in talking and listening to Phorm.

Whats even worse is the Home Office is learning from Phorm just what kinds of monitoring it can do and how to use such technology. This is why Phorm's plans for ISPs is so close to Home Office plans for ISP tracking everyone, both using Deep Packet Inspection technology.

The Home Office is planning to put the entire general public of the UK under continuous wiretap style monitoring with more automated profiled of whatever is said and done, more than any police state in the world has ever achieved before!. Yet the main stream press like newspapers are failing so far to pick up on the news! (Maybe the news papers have got so lethargic with telling us endlessly about pointless 5 minute celebrity lives, that they can no longer think through the technical details required to see the Home Office is literally creating Big Brother!).

Democracy cannot truly exist when the elite minority in power know the views of the voters. Thats what 1984 was trying to show. Big Brother violates the principle of the secret vote, which prevents political manipulation of the voters to try to get them to vote and behave in certain ways. The more we move towards vast automated profiling, the more we undermined democracy, freedom and fairness. Its not as if the elite in power are abusing their position of power to rob us all of millions of tax payers money to help themselves and their rich friends, while millions of people risk loosing their jobs and everything.

Its madness this isn't being picked up by the newspapers. We are walking blindly into literally a Fascist police state. Are people so blind that we have to suffer the same mistakes again seen throughout history.

The next step is leaving laws wide open to allow for ever more feature creeps, so ever more people can dream up reasons to monitor everything people do and say online. Then they can slowly over time start to add more hidden punishments like restricting government jobs and government contract jobs to only the politically loyal people. Hold back opponents. I'm sorry your company cannot have this government contract as you employ 3 people who have openly protested online against the current government. This shows your company and employees are not behind the current government and so your company will not get this contract or grant. This will force any company wishing to win government contracts, to weed out anyone politically motivated. That will also help them rid themselves of anyone potentially willing to back the formation of unions to force more fairness out of employers. We have seen that so many times throughout history. Now the police state will be able to gain this kind of information like never before. No one will be able to stand up and speak out against government or job conditions in the future, without risking loosing their jobs or getting punished and held back in other quite ways. How long before we have profile lists sold to companies containing lists of names of people who complain about job conditions online. That would be useful when interviewing people. That would really help avoid empolying anyone who many speak out and stand up to the boss about treating employees with some fairness. Thats just one example of so many ways to manipulate people into silent acquiescence.

Its like the mainstream media has been taken over by mindless zombies!

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Anonymous Coward

Collusiion, Lies or what?

According to their new site they have the following to say about the Downing Street Petition:

"The website managers at 10 Downing Street recognised their mistake in allowing a misleading petition to appear on their site, and have since provided assurances to Phorm that they will not permit this to happen again."

Can The Register get onto 10 DS and ask them if this really is the case? Or is this just more lies and spin from a company who are really doing a SCO when it comes to publicity.

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Privacy Pirates..

..If he had a straight face when he blogged this then hes more crazy than i thought. Irony its a form of wit he seems to of gotten backwards.

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Highly amusing business practices

if I didn't know better I'd say these guys are in serious denial, not only do they refuse to accept that their company is simply not wanted in this marketplace, they are now actively pursuing their detractors, is this the guidebook on how NOT to launch a product?

brilliant stuff Phuckers.

oh, Dave BT? I don't want to come across as a Virgin fan (in fact I think they're just as bad as the rest) but their only saving grace is that they won't use phorm and they, if you're in the right area, will also supply you with phone line, ISP etc.

In my view anyone that isn't BT can't be all bad...unlike BT because they are, in fact, ALL bad.

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Alien

So Phorm want to steal my bandwidth AND take the moral high-ground??

Correct me if i am wrong , but Phorm wants to

a) intercept and inspect all my http requests

b) make an assessment of what I'm looking at ,

C) use my bandwidth on behalf of their clients to tell me about stuff their clients want me to buy/know about.

IF so, to then to make a grab for the moral high ground and attempt to blacken the name of anyone who raises objections to this snooping compounded by theft is adding insult to injury

Setting aside the any prviacy and security concerns (and i have many), The fact is that at no benefit to me Phorm want ot steal my bandwidth AND be thanked for it

. Have Phorm really moved away from their Dark-side roots? Are these protestations today just part of the squeezing a Mafioso into penguin suit to give a veneer of respectability? or are the Gummament really behind this as a way of getting some other bugger to collect the http data portion of the communications they want to intercept

Well here's an idea; for £50 a week Phorm can advertise to me and sell my aggregated search /attention data. Otherwise I will take very unkindly to unauthorised use of my bandwidth allowance and ask OFCOM to investigate my isp for allowing this use of my bandwidth and seek compensation.

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@Dave

Get with an Entanet reseller mate. I've got a Titan ADSL office connection at home. It's expensive compared to normal packages, but man, it kicks ass. They give you straight-up usage limits, and you're off. No throttling, no P2P blocks or port limits, and they'll even give you a set of static IPs for free. And it's FAST.

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Alert

Expect a letter from our lawyers

"Expect a letter from our lawyers" is where this is leading. Phorm can't win the argument, so it is resorting to smears and innuendo. When that fails, companies usually like this to get their revenge by suing people for tortious interference, trade libel and bollocks and the like.

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Paris Hilton

I am intrigued...

as to the kind of adverts I'm gonna get when i usually always search for

'french birds kissing' or 'face full of jizz'

Maybe only Jaqui's husband and me will get the ads, oh no wait...we pay for his pr0n

Paris - 'cause I've never seen the video

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Anonymous Coward

They must be desperate if they're resorting to personal attacks.

Just because I support net privacy, apparently I'm some sort of pirate. I expect the next thing will be "only a terrorist or paedophile could object to this".

I'll make it very clear how I feel about Phorm. If my ISP implements it, I'll be phoning up for my MAC. I pay them to provide me with internet access, not to use me as a captive market for an advertising company, based on information which they have absolutely no business looking at.

Fuck the lot of them.

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Sensible Question

How do you go about opting out websites you run. Is it direct to the company who run "Phorm" or via my web hosting company?

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Anonymous Coward

I worry about Kent.

This could just be a cry for help, a sympathetic and understanding ear. Someone to talk to and to offer sage advice. Someone to help clarify his thinking and give a new direction to his endeavours.

Would aManFromMars please get in touch with Mr Ertugrul as a matter of urgency.

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OK, but..

"We are committed to protecting the privacy of UK consumers and will ensure any new technology of this sort is applied in an appropriate and transparent manner, in full accordance with the law and with proper regulation from the appropriate authority."

... when?

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Anonymous Coward

Small number of campaigners?

Quote: "Over the last year Phorm has been the subject of a smear campaign orchestrated by a small but dedicated band of online "privacy pirates" who appear very determined to harm our company."

I think this is mis-leading. It's not a small band, it's a large number of people, and potentially a massive number of people. This blog seems to be trying to trivialise the amount of bad feeling that Phorm (and BT) have stirred up. The general public will hate Phorm too - whenever I take the time to explain to someone non-technical and not in the IT industry exactly what the Phorm system entails, they tend to have a pretty negative reaction.

I'm a regular kind of bloke and don't generally participate in crusades, but the Phorm issue has really angered me, and so I have written to my MP and MEP a couple of times. I would never use an ISP who makes use of Phorm, and I wouldn't want anyone I know to do the same.

I have to say I am amused about Phorm having their blog. Reminds me of Microsoft's "Get the facts" campaign, which was also rather laughable.

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Anonymous Coward

V

"This is why Phorm's plans for ISPs are so close to Home Office plans for ISP tracking everyone, both using Deep Packet Inspection technology."

Ever since the clearly illegal secret trials were mysteriously deemed 'legal', it has always seemed to me to be rather obvious that this is the case. Phorm are a perfect guinea-pig (and ultimately scape-goat) for what the government would like to do itself. Phorm are the scoop on the front of the government's snow plough, pushing as much shit aside as they can to leave a clear path through.

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Happy

thanks

(that is all)

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Bronze badge

Aww, didums

Is ickle Phorm boss throwing a blog tantrum because he's discovered virtually ALL the people who would be affected by his plan don't want to be snooped on?

Someone should book him in for emergency surgery to remove his head from his arse, it's obviously been up there far too long with the amount of shit he's continuing to spew.

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'Phorm boss blogs from a dark, dark place'

You mean from several miles up the Home Secretary's backside?

No wonder hubby has to look elsewhere - no room for him in any of her orifices with all the interest groups and general scumbags rammed in there.

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Linux

also @dave

take a look at http://aaisp.net.uk/kb-broadband-realinternet.html

basically - they won't log what you do, shape your traffic, or sign up to the IWF's nanny list.

It's your connection, do what you will is the tone..

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@MinionZero

They already do discriminate based on parties - no BNP member is allowed to be a member of most civil service organisations are far as I know. Look, I'm no fan of the BNP either, but I respect their right to be heard.

How long before we get told that the LibDems are as dangerous as the BNP? Or the Tories?

You are right, that this could be a dangerous thing for the future of the UK. And it is dismaying that the mainstream news has been told in no uncertain terms to bury the news in the backpages.

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Happy

Oops

Loving the link from here:

http://www.stopphoulplay.com/this-is-how-they-work/

to Blackbeaks blog here:

http://www.blackbeak.com/2008/06/14/is-this-bad-phorm-privacy-concerns-around-bt/

but, oh, look - Captain Blackbeak appears to have changed his mind after a little further research:

http://www.blackbeak.com/2008/06/15/bt-shows-bad-phorm-in-its-bid-to-improve-behavioral-ad-targeting/

Delicious.

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Stop

Phorm mentioned on "Security Now"

Phorm gets a mention two weeks running on Steve Gibson's "Security Now" podcast.

..."sort of nasty, very invasive technology that ISPs are still toying around with deploying..."

and

"...Phorm, the evil, behind-your-back, intercepting your web connections, and loading your machine with cookies in order to track you technology..."

are both phrases that were used.

Transcripts here:

http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-192.txt

http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-193.txt

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Linux

I concur

Phorm- Phuck not inconsiderably off!

Mother Phuckers!

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Anonymous Coward

There is a contact us link....

http://www.phorm.com/util/contact.php

I would advise letting this person know how you feel. If you do not want to use your own email then here is a good link for you.

http://www.sizlopedia.com/2007/05/27/top-20-temporary-and-disposable-email-services/

oh yeah...

ARRRRRR me hearties.

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Pirate

Hoist the Jolly Roger

I be happy to be considered a pirate by scum like him

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Happy

@Dave Stark

That's hysterical! Talk about Kent shooting himself in the foot!

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