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back to article Phorm woos browsers with personalised web

Phorm is aiming to strengthen ties with publishers by allowing them to track and target their visitors' interests as they browse the web. The web monitoring firm today unveiled "Webwise Discover" in London with the tagline "don't search, just browse". It made the announcement ahead of releasing its annual financial report. …

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Good thing?

"Ertugrul said Phorm's seven years so far without revenues was "actually a good thing" because of the complexity of its products."

No, it's a good thing because eventually those people who hold the purse strings will say "fuck off" - which is pretty much what anyone who knows about Phorm is telling them anyway.

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Joke

What a clown

"This is real... what we don't do is hype things," he said.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahah <breath> Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahah

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Who do they think they are -- Google?

Surely only Google can get away with the old "give us all your personal data and we'll give you 'something cool' in return..." bollocks?

As for saying "'yes, they've done something right for a change'" -- I'll do that when everyone involved in Phorm fucks off and drinks some special Kool Aid.

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Rat
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Yeah right

The day I opt in to Phorm's browser profiling is the day I invite Kent Ertugrul to anally rape me with a splintery stick. I'll be damned if my browsing habits go toward lining that fucktard's pockets.

Oh, and don't think I won't stoop to badmouthing Phorm to each and every person I have any influence with regarding IT - and, like most geeks, that's quite a lot of people...

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Quote of the year

"We wanted people to say 'yes, they've done something right for a change'."

So they admit everything else they do is wrong?

Foot meet bullet

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Anonymous Coward

AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

:facepalm:

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Surely some mistake

South Korea?

Surely this is the sort of programme for North Korea

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Flame

Erm, Javascript + AJAX and the world knows your interests

Erm, Javascript + AJAX and the world knows your interests

I just add the Phorm embedded tag to my website, lace my own page with a bit of Javascript and Ajax and I can read my visitors' interests and augment what I already know about my visitors, all thanks to Phorm.

Whilst I know jack about interception and the other raging Phorm debates surely this is clearly a breach of Data Protection rules?

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Coat

Why?

"Several journalists at the event were confused as to why Phorm had chosen to announce a product that is only available on a limited basis in South Korea"

Why? Because "they don't hype things" of course.

Phorm: what a load of utter BS.

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Certainly, dear

"Come, join our network of oiks". Indeedy... Replacing "ks" with "x" is fooling noone. Be tole.

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So...

'Phorm plans to offer the system to publishers as free embeddable code, claiming it will increase their page views and so revenues. It does not stand to make any money from Webwise Discover, but will use it to build relationships and encourage publishers to join its behaviourally targeted advertising network, OIX.'

What's the betting that this 'free embeddable code' is something along the lines of a closed-source browser plug-in which could be soing pretty much anything behind the scenes, such as -ooh, I don't know - tracking your web activity for fun and profit!

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Awesome

So once customers are logged in on my website, I will be able to use this tool to harvest a whole host of information about them and their interests, and store it without their knowledge in my own customer database :) Thanks Phorm!

(we need a sarcasm smiley)

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Anonymous Coward

Same old guff ...

"We just wanted to do something cool," said Phorm's technology chief Marc Burgess.

Translation : We are looking for another excuse to sneak our snoop boxes into ISP's.

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Pirate

At last, an admission!

"We wanted people to say 'yes, they've done something right for a change'." said Marc Burgess

I thought everyone loved Phorm and it was just Alex Hanff and El Reg who hated them? Surely if everyone loved them (as their hilarious propoganda website would have you believe) then that quote shoild be

"We wanted people to say 'yes, they've done something right AGAIN'"

Is this a subtle admission from Phorm that they are actually as popular as an independent auditor in the House of Commons Fees Office?

Pirate because I'm a proud privacy pirate!

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Do not want!

So if I browse for holidays in Pakistan and then apply to enter the US they can put me on a black list because of my browsing profile. Nice.

What stops any site like amazon storing the profiling information against their logged in customers?

Run away!

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Anonymous Coward

No

Phorm, can you just die? Please, do us all a favour, just die...

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Anonymous Coward

Here we go again

They can fuck off. Again.

A less invasive angle to Phorm?

They are still proposing to monitor your data. The same methods represent the same invasive nature.

Anyway the whole thing is simply method for he government to spy on the people. That's why it is getting pusshed so much, I would bet on them having the Home Office's (unofficial) support.

Viva le Dark Net.

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Unhappy

"Personalized web"

Don't they really mean "personalized prices?" Then they just keep a database of what we told whom to prevent discovery by showing your wife a different price. Yup, gonna need a couple IPs just to keep these buggers honest.

anon- what else?

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Pirate

Gits

Bastards all of em LEAVE MY BROWSING ALONE YOU PARASITES

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Anonymous Coward

Not Cool, Just Desperate

They seem to think that if you spend any time looking at one thing, then that's all you want to look at. Over the last few nights I've been looking at kite related content, I probably won't look at that again for a long time because I've bought my kites now. However Webwise Discover would bias my browsing towards power kite related content until it figured out I was no longer interested in that. How easy is it to tell it to butt out?

The same could be said for their targetted advertising. Most people shop like I just did for kites, they spend some time browsing and making their decision and then move on and probably won't return to that subject for a long time, if at all. It's no good advertising 42" TVs to somebody the day after they've bought one. It's not as if they'll go out and buy another on the strength of Phorm's advertising.

The business model stinks on all sorts of levels. Whether it's privacy, wide of the target advertising or the fact that no restailer will want Phorm to profile their traffi (why would any retailler want Phorm directing their customers elsewhere?).

This latest move smacks of desperation. They've realised they're on a loser and so have tried to come up with something that makes their technology look cool, but it's a failure for two reasons (1) it's pretty lame and (2) even if people like the idea of this browser tool it doesn't mean their business model will suddenly work.

They're Phucked.

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ohhh cool .................

Nah still shite

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South Korea?

This sort of technology would be much more at home in North Korea.

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Hmmm

I sense creeping desperation...

YAY!

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Ash
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I've finally migrated!

Moved house, no longer with Virgin, on an ISP with a strong anti-Phorm / Webwise policy. One month contract, so if it ever changes I only ever have 30 days. I'll be sure to tell them every day of that 30 too, just to be sure they get the message.

Give up, Kent. We don't want it, and we'll bend over backwards to not have it.

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"... what we don't do is hype things,"

That's true. It's so much easier to just lie through your teeth, isn't it Kent?

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Hmm...

Very good, but is this product legal???

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will be presented about holiday home in france

now why in the hell if i have just booked a holiday in france would i bloody well want to view even more homes !

At the end of the day i just want to search for what i want not have it force fed.

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Anonymous Coward

"This is real... what we don't do is hype things," he said.

Well as far as i can tell, in the past they haven't even bothered to mention "things" never mind hype them.

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Publishers interested?

Why would publishers be interested in a widget that does not earn them any income and facilitates Phorm scraping their content to profile their visitors so as to improve Phorm's and the ISPs' revenue?

Interestingly the patent does talk about a script which is able to examine browser history and cached content, perhaps this is what they have been working towards.

It is all very well for ISP customers who opt into having the widget but what about the rest of the world when they visit the site and have their browsing data harvested by the widget - how do they opt in? Word would quickly get out that site ABC is hosting some spyware/tracking script and people with security software would keep getting all these warnings about adware tracking them.

If Google had done something similar, its google-analytics product would have been dead on the first review.

The press release I want to hear is Phorm claiming that, like NebuAd and Adzilla, they have given up on DPI and are going back to the same BTA methods used by all the other hundreds of ad networks out there.

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Stop

About the whole BT part

Are BT also still throttling iPlayer traffic

I wouldn't know BECAUSE I'D NEVER USE SUCH A SHITTY ISP

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Anonymous Coward

OIX?

Yes they are a bunch of grubby little oiks.

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Or..

Or.. a visitor to Amazon *automatically* served up a selection of TS/TV and midget porn videos via the embdedded widget. Nice. They STILL don't get it do they?

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

Actually, they COULD match my advertising preferences. None, please.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm

I'm sure I won't be the first to mention this, but given what Phorm does and the trials they have run...

>"We just wanted to do something cool," said Phorm's technology chief Marc Burgess.

The only cool thing they could do now would be to drop dead

>"We wanted people to say 'yes, they've done something right for a change'."

Announcing that all Phorm systems will be opt-in only (at an individual level, not ISP) would be a start. Dropping dead would still be better.

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Flame

Just spent 30 minutes...

...on the phone to get my MAC code. It hurt...

Now on to my 30th minute of a phone call to BT.....

"Can I have my MAC code please?"

"Why?"

"Because I have concerns over privacy with Phorm"

"What you've read online about Phorm is inaccurate and completely incorrect. you should check out our official information "

"Uh huh. MAC Code please."

"Let me look into it."

*waits for 10 minutes*

"Okay, let me address your Phorm concerns..... blah blah blah blah blah and it's not active for you anyway"

"Yes it is. Without asking my consent I have Phorm Cookies on my PC."

"No you don't."

"Yes I bloody well do!!!!"

"Well I've addressed your reasons about Phorm...."

"..."

"Sir?"

"MAC Code please?"

"Why?"

"Just give me THE BLOODY MAC CODE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

*another 10 minute wait*

"My manager would like to discuss you leaving us...."

"I don't want to talk to your manager, I just want my MAC code please"

"Okay, here it is...."

"Wait, what?"

It was painful, like drawing teeth. I'm in a foul mood now.

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Hold on

Hasn't the EU prosecuted them yet? Mind you how long has it taken them to shaft MS?

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Pirate

Lazy, Lazy, Man

I'm a Lazy, Lazy, Man. does anyone have a link to El Reg's Privacy Pirate T-shirt (If they've got one, if not why not?).....Yaar!!!

Oh and 7 years without revenue, anyone looked to see if a member of parliment say the departing Jacki has put this on her expenses as say essential security monitoring software used in her day-to-day job? because someones got to be bank-rolling 'em and Jackys department would be a leading contender i reckon.

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Anonymous Coward

Vote with your feet people...

It took me ages, but I finally moved ISPs, I should have done it years ago.

I went from Tesco.net (aka Virgin) to Zen Internet, the process was a piece of piss.

When I asked for my MAC code Tesco asked me why I was moving, I simply said "Phorm".

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fees to me ?

In this age when the RIAA et all are not going to play the game of giving things away for free, why should Phorm expect me to give them my data so they can make money from it?

Seriously, offer me £10 for every company that benefits from my data and its yours.... offer me a lie (it will improve my browsing) and you assume that i am not happy with my browsing already..

I dont need a machine to tell me what to browse and where... i can google / surf .. as can most people.

Obvioulsy this is aside from the host of other immediate reasons phorm is bad as bad can be.

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To Kent, with love

Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.

Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend.

You give me the horrors

too bad to be true

All of my tomorrow’s

are lousy coz of you.

You put the Shat in Shatter

Put the Pain in Spain

Your germs are splattered about

Your face is just a stain

You’re certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.

Do us all a favour, here... wear this polythene bag.

You’re like a dose of scabies,

I’ve got you under my skin.

You make life a fairy tale... Grimm!

People mention murder, the moment you arrive.

I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.

You’ve got this slippery quality,

it makes me think of phlegm,

and a dual personality

I hate both of them.

Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.

Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.

Like a death a birthday party,

you ruin all the fun.

Like a sucked and spat our smartie,

you’re no use to anyone.

Like the shadow of the guillotine

on a dead consumptive’s face.

Speaking as an outsider,

what do you think of the human race

You went to a progressive psychiatrist.

He recommended suicide...

before scratching your bad name off his list,

and pointing the way outside.

You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.

You’re heading for a breakdown,

better pull yourself apart.

Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.

Your attitudes are platitudes,

just make me wanna piss.

What kind of creature bore you

Was is some kind of bat

They can’t find a good word for you,

but I can...

TWAT.

John Cooper Clarke

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Alert

Same old

Same personal surveillance.

Same communication interception.

Same phorged cookie setting.

Same industrial espionage.

Same copyright infringement.

Same solution: FIND A PHORM FREE ISP

Protect the privacy, security, integrity of UK telecommunications.

STOP PHORM

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BT

With BT being the primary proponent of Phorm, not only do I actively discourage anyone else from using them as their ISP (not that I EVER used BT as an ISP), I have also dumped them for the phone line rental (I went with the Post Office, but there's also some very nice deals from other companies, such a Primus, First Telecom, Euphony and so on, and you can still keep your existing ISP) quoting Phorm as the reason. The sooner these idiots realise that one breach of privacy usually leads to a loss of trust on all their products, the better. If you feel the same way about this, I ask you to consider boycotting *all* of British Telecom's products, which can be done without becoming a "cutting nose off to spite face" situation. If they can betray you with the Internet, what guarantee they won't betray you in other areas as well?

At present, we can only vote with our feet by boycotting BT, Virgin and TalkTalk, but doing so *completely* sends a clear message to anyone considering conspiring with this spyware company, and indeed anyone else using DPI, that we will not tolerate this sort of thing on our private communications.

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Stop

A perfect example of utter corporate contempt of everyone.

The utter contempt of this company never ceases to amaze me. They are a perfect example of why laws are needed to protect everyone from companies like this. This company has no empathy at all for its intended victims, which is all of us. We are all to be simply treated like cattle by them for their own gain. Yet they try to lie to us, saying its for our own benefit.

I consider what Phorm are doing is literally theft without any way for me to stop them stealing my data and my privacy.

The current government appears to be too corrupt and too spineless to protect us all from companies like Phorm, so the next government need laws drawn up to put Phorm like companies out of business forever. Nothing less is acceptable. There is no way their exploitation can be allowed to continue. People should not have to rely on their own means to protect themselves from crooked organisations. Most people do not have the technical knowledge to see how they can be exploited and they shouldn't have to. The public is expected to be protected by the state. If the state cannot provide the protection the people who vote them into power want, then its time to fire the people in power. They are there for a job and they are failing totally in the protection of people.

But then as companies like Phorm and this government have proven beyond any doubt, they cannot be trusted, so its time for all data to become encrypted though the ISPs. This issue highlights no company can now be fully trusted any more. They have broken our trust and so its time to force them with law changes. ISPs are nothing more than data carrying couriers. They do not have the right to spy on everyone. We do not expect the post office to open and copy every letter it reads and then sell summaries of all it reads to companies!. Government wake up, that is what Phorm is doing to the Internet!

I don't want Phorm to go out of business. I want all Phorm like companies legally wiped out by Parliament forever. If the people in Parliament intend to keep failing at this task, then its time to highlight exactly which corrupt people are behind helping Phorm. It looks like we may need a few more MP's to be thrown out of their jobs over allowing Phorm like companies and so failing to protect us all.

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Anonymous Coward

Good call by Chronos

I wholeheartedly agree with Chronos - just to add another to your boycott list, remember that Dabs is now owned by BT too. Haven't bought a thing from them since this happened and would hope others do the same.

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Oh I Love Phorm

Sorry - but I do.

I mean I don't like their products. Not particularly fussed by their CEO, nor most of the board. But Marc Burgess is a funny bloke (whaddya mean funny ? Funny like a clown?) if a bit skittish and most of the people there are really actually ok.

Still ..... I wouldn't put it on my fucking CV. I'm gonna say I've been in prison for distributing kiddie pr0n or something less contentious.

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Boffin

Create a Phorm ISP

If Phorm are so convinced that the great unwashed would love their products and deep packet inspection snooping, why do they not create their own ISP brand with all that lovely Phorm goodness built in?

They get to snoop on all their punters, capture all their browsing history, punt "relevant, targeted ads" at them, AND keep all the clickthrough revenue themselves rather than having to share it out with BT.

Those that can't see a problem with Phorm then have a choice (let's call it, say, "opt-in") to move to Phorm ISP, and the rest of us can stay clear.

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Unhappy

Yet more spyware..

Same ole spyware scam re-repackaged yet again into another stupid product..

Excuse me but why do these guys at Phorm keep harping on about their privacy enhancements when the truth is quite the contrary? Stealing people’s personal information certainly cannot be described as a privacy enhancement just because a renowned spyware baron tell you it is..

It’s doing my head in..

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Happy

How to realy annoy BT

BT have an affiliate program at http://www2.bt.com/static/i/btretail/consumer/affiliates/ so if you find your self on any of their affiliates web sites, drop the affiliate a note explaining why you will be advising all you friends and colleges not to use that affiliate.

Nothing can change policy faster than a bunch of annoyed affiliates.

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Alert

A spade's a spade

Phorm: spyware at the ISP level.

Any ISP that implements it is scum.

Thank you for your attention. That is all.

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Hai

I am have to vote tomorrow so can I haz some recommendations as to wat to put my smudge againts.

Tah +++++

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