back to article Last day for anti-snooping petition

An e-petition which asks Prime Minister Gordon Brown "to Stop ISP's from breaching customers privacy via advertising technologies" is ending today. The petition has already collected just over 21,000 signatures. In other news several behavioural advertising firms including Google, Microsoft, NebuAd and Phorm have signed up to …


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  1. Paul


    Is it bad that I don't trust the government or their IT dogs to put more details in on the petition?

  2. Lionel Baden

    might be me but ..

    isnt it a bit late getting media attention ???

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are not worth the paper they are written on, they are purely a way for a company to look like it gives a damn but not in anyway that stops it doing whatever it likes....

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Voluntery Codes of Practice....

    These are a license to rip off and expoit your customers... as is self evident from Ofcoms "Voluntery Code of Practice for Broadband".

    What a dismal failure.

  5. adnim Silver badge

    Horse before cart

    "The guidelines do insist that consumers are told if information about them is being collected, and they also require the possiblity of opting out of such collection." [sic]

    How about opted out as the default with the possibility of opting in should one wish to be spied upon?

  6. Irate BT User
    Thumb Up

    Last Minute Votes count just as....

    early ones said the Prospective candidate whilst he was voting in order to break a Voting Tie!.. :)

  7. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    "Good Practise Guidelines"

    That is all they are, guidelines. Not laws or rules, but a nice fluffy, ambiguous term like "guidelines", so they can challenge things anytime they don't get their own way.

    So sick an tired of every part of my life, including my habits and interests, being priced and given a dollar value by some faceless corp with no interest but to fleece my wage packet every month!

  8. PolicyWatcher

    "Code of Malpractice".

    The supposed "code of practice" only requires a facility for users to opt OUT - not a requirement that they should have to OPT IN.

    And it very specifically only requires that they be allowed to opt out of receiving the tailored adverts.

    There any requirement that users be able to opt out from having their data collected, stored, analysed, or used in any other way other than for the serving of adverts.

  9. Claire Rand


    no protection other than whats already in law, given that the law isn't currently being enforced, and the bods in charge are going out of their way to avoid either enforcing it or explain why they won't thats not exactly got teeth then

    need a system whereby a popular website could hammer these systems into the ground, or simply block anything handled via the redirects etc.

    a browser that allows the user to block the temp redirects? could a firefox plugin see the redirect code and warn the user?

    I'm assuming the likes of google *may* be waiting quietly, to spring the lawyers on these clowns for copyright violations. after all its not yet been addressed that *both* parties need to 'opt in' to this not just the poor ISP user

  10. Alex
    Black Helicopters


    it will make any difference!

  11. Jonathan

    I've just realized

    That the powers that be in the UK, the MPs, the Lords - basically those with lots of power and money - have no interest in the UK being a democracy. The elections we have now and then are just lip service to the idea.

    Because, if it was a democracy, we wouldnt have the super elite MPs deciding that they are above the Freedom of Information laws. We wouldnt have Phorm and BT conducting secret trials of illegal technology and then the entire government including the police refusing to investigate or prosecute.

  12. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Up

    Signatures soar on the last day

    So far today the number of signatures has increased by approx. 1% which is pretty impressive considering it is the last day in a year long petition.

    Thanks John for posting the article and I am sure I echo the sentiments of many in thanking The Register generally for their coverage of this issue over the past 12 months.

  13. John Smith Gold badge


    That's what a 2nd class letter to your MP will cost you.

    2 paragraphs to say your internet viewing habits are no ones business but your own, you dont trust them not to snoop on your (or their) personal information and what are they going to do about it?

    3 minutes to print it.

    4 minutes to find a 2nd class stamp

    5 to post it.

    With an uneven spread of petitioners its possible that for some MPs their post bag on this is > their parlimentary majority.

    And that's when MPs suddenly find this is interesting.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next?

    @ Paul - Trust

    Considering how many tracking cookies and 3rd party scripts run on most sites and your concerns about that, imagine what your concerns will be like when you know that the ISP is using DPI to intercept every site you visit.

    @ Lionel Baden - might be me but ...

    It is never too late to make something public.

    Next step is to ask MPs what their response is to the petition and ask what they will be doing within parliament to bring the debate to the floor of the House. Ask if they are BT customers and whether or not their communications were intercepted without their knowledge during the 2006 and 2007 trials. With around 1:20 BT customers having had their communications intercepted during at least one of the 3 trials, the probability is that either your MP or a lot of their constituents have been intercepted.

    And that is a lot of angry people who will be knocking at the door of their next surgery asking what MPs are doing to protect their privacy.

    The House of Lords have had a few questions answered by civil servants/government departments but never a debate.

    The popular press have refused to cover the concerns about DPI and related privacy and security concerns. Not to mention the legality. Isn't it time it became public knowledge just how much effort has gone into suppressing this over the last 12 months? Last of all was suppressing the Which? survey.

    I have never taken part in a protest before. The interception of communications within the privacy of my own home is something which I take very personally. So far the protest has been a gentle whisper.

    Ask your neighbour if they think it is legal to intercept communications and you will find that they can't believe that this could happen in a civilised country like the UK.

    Citizens of the USA were the same, not believing that such widespread interception could be happening, and they were having their communications intercepted for over a year before Congress started to ask questions.

    If the USA can remove DPI from the networks, why should UK citizens have lesser privacy rights?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Highly suspicious...

    Signed this at 5 pm and I am still waiting for the confirmation email....

    I suppose the site could be down or the admin incompetent.

    But more likely it's just a convenient way to keep the number of signatures down.

    Roll on the next election so we can vote this corrupt shower of s**t out!

    Black Helicopter because ...... click <No Carrier>

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Feeling paranoid are we?...

  17. Peter White
    Thumb Up

    still going strong to the last

    nearly 300 more people signed up today on the petition

    that goes to show the issue is not going away, it has been in the top 5 petitions for over 9 out of the 12 months

    that has got to say something about what people think of this sort of invasion of privacy

    thanks to el reg for all the coverage they have given to the whole issue of phorm, past present and future


  18. EvilJason
    Thumb Down

    I wonder

    How does phorm or the other companies put in there adds?

    Do they over ride the current banners you see?

    If you make a search engine search does it add in "related" adds?

    Does it redirect your pages?

    I have no idea how phorm can put there own advertisement without effecting current ones in place or effecting your internet use?

    If they replace banners or insert there own advertisement over website or by inserting webwords or something then they are interfering in another sites business and layout.

    I mean take the register a mainly uk site, what would happen to it if the revenue from the advertisements drops because the banners are been redirected OR if they start messaging with the layout of the site y adding those stupid webword links in over the site that make the sites visitors less likely to come back.

    And collecting your data for marketing or what ever purposes doesn't that breach the data protection act? Can bt a MAJORITY holder of the uks internet access abuse there position and force you to agree to these terms and conditions that you agree to wave your protection under the act so that your data can be collected especially for commercial purposes?

    If it goes live i bet there will be a lot of lawsuits asking for the government to step in and brake up bt into different companies as a whole they are abusing there monopoly position.

    We'll see how it goes just remember a single person can make a difference. one guy took the banks to court over unfair charges now there facing billions in refunds.


  19. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Up

    Petition now closed

    The final count displayed on the petition page is 21,358.

    Thanks everyone.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    don't waste your time

    with the wacqui quacui one in office, no one will bother reading the petition much less act on it.

  21. michael


    to answer your questions in order

    by agreement wit the site



    not for adds

    they do not

    to sum up phorm collect all your surfing habits by spying on your traffic at isp lvl and then use this info to create a "surfer profile" then put a cookie on your comp with this profile when you visit one of there affiliates you get a add based on what your surfer profile is

    our problem with it is the spying not the adds witch we all ignore as a matter of coarse

  22. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Letters to MP's

    Does anyone know if there is a service that can take your online letter and, rather than send off an email, actually create a letter - put it in an envelope and stamp it? (For a fee of course) ?

    If you take the hassle out of doing these things, the proles might use it more often.

    Anyway, whilst I'm pleased at the level of support this petition has received, ultimately the general public in this country are blissfully ignorant of these kind of things, and the government depends on them to be so.

    Personally I believe the right to vote should only be granted to those who can prove some level of political awareness above reading tabloid headlines.

    It's a worthy fight, but in my heart of hearts there just aren't enough people who give a damn. Or at least they won't until they've lost all their freedoms and start bleating.

    See what I did there Ms Bee? :D Now, where did I put that piece of paper :P

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Code of Practise?

    Hello? I might be wrong but aren't these just vague "commitments" and "promises" to abide by the "guidelines" and are in no way legally binding and do not guarantee anything? WTF?

  24. psychochief

    @michael and @jason the FACTS about PHORM !!!!!!!! :O(

    you sure you know what your talking about michael ???? errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm i suggest you look at my post here titled "The Internet Advertising Bureau wont bite the hand that feeds them !!!!!!!!!!" :- and @jason and any other peeps, draw your own conclusions, toodle pip :O)

    mines the one with the big pinch of salt and flying pigs in it :O)

  25. michael


    yes I am sure from all I have read on el reg (and I have read a lot) that phorm profiles your traffic and then serves up adds on THERE AFFILIATES SITES ONLY they do not replace your adds or anything like that

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