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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  1. Eponymous Cowherd
    Pirate

    A whole website....

    dedicated to Kent Ertugrul throwing toys out of his pram.

    Top entertainment!

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

  2. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    "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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    LMAO

    Privacy Pirates FTW

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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)

  9. 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!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  11. Matthew Collier
    Thumb Up

    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 :)

  12. Maurice Shakeshaft
    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

  13. Richard
    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!

  14. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    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...

  15. Fluffykins Silver badge

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

    A Nappy Slapper?

  16. Steve

    Haha nutters

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

  17. Andy ORourke
    Joke

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

    to say Phuck Of Phorm

  18. Anonymous Coward
    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.....

  19. Phorm Protester
    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.

  20. D@v3
    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.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank God ...

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

  23. Damien Thorn

    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.

  24. Dennis
    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

  25. Liam
    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!

  26. MinionZero
    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!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  28. Scott

    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.

  29. toby robertson

    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.

  30. wobbly1
    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.

  31. Greg

    @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.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    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

  34. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  35. Steve Coburn

    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?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  37. this

    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?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  40. D@v3
    Happy

    thanks

    (that is all)

  41. Haku

    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.

  42. Tony

    '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.

  43. Alan Parsons
    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..

  44. Jonathan

    @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.

  45. Dave Stark
    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.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    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

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    I concur

    Phorm- Phuck not inconsiderably off!

    Mother Phuckers!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  49. pctechxp
    Pirate

    Hoist the Jolly Roger

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

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Dave Stark

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

  51. Dennis
    Alert

    @ By MinionZero

    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.

    You may not have noticed these news events recently:

    Unions and politicians threaten action over employee blacklist

    The glittering list of contractors accused of using the ‘construction blacklist’ to vet potential employees are bracing themselves for the legal and political fallout.

    http://www.cnplus.co.uk/hot-topics/legal/unions-and-politicians-threaten-action-over-employee-blacklist/1994975.article

    Call for action over rampant blacklisting of workers

    The Government was urged to take immediate action today to outlaw the blacklisting of workers after new evidence that the practice was "rampant".

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4948344/Call-for-action-over-rampant-blacklisting-of-workers.html

    You talk about what can potentially happen. You're too late

  52. 7mark7

    @There is a contact us link....

    Phorm never respond. That link is just an exercise in collecting e-mail addresses and IP's.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    conflation of privacy and piracy

    seems very odd to me - I think he's losing the plot

    perhaps he won't mind if I conflate Kent and moron?

  54. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    @Andy ORourke

    Should that not be:

    Phuck oph Phorm?

  55. Ad Fundum
    Thumb Up

    I want in!

    I used their contact 'phorm' (geddit!) to ask if I could be added to the list of "Main Characters". I've always been against them and I want in! the text is included below - feel free to borrow the text and drop them a line and see if they will add you to the list of pirates:

    "Hi! I'm writing to ask if I could be included in your list of "Main Characters"? I've written lots of articles and blog entries against your deep packet invasive technology, and I read The Register every day! Please add me to your list and I promise I will keep writing articles against your spying. Thanks, Darren"

  56. David S
    Pirate

    Flawed on so many levels

    How exactly are they planning to target adverts based on our browsing habits anyway? Will I be served ads for Igglepiggle blankets while my three-year-old son gets Hanna Montana merchandise, my teen son gets IT-related spam and my thirteen-tear old daughter gets dodgy pr0n links? We share the same internet connection, and yet our tastes and interests differ about as widely as any bunch of people you might pick at random.

    So it's pointless, right? As targeted as a splattergun, surely?

    Here's another thing: I called my ISP yesterday to ask for reassurance that I could be opted out of Phorm and nobody I could be put through to had even heard of the organisation. I had to explain to their customer service people all about the background and why I was concerned. To their credit, they ALL expressed the opinion that it sounded like a really bad idea, but nobody could reassure me. I feel a letter coming on...

    Privacy Pirate T-shirt FTW. I'd buy that for a dollar.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    "Privacy pirates" (TM)

    If Phorm goes out of business I'm sure he could get one of those well-paid jobs at one of the Hopme Office agencies. He has the right attitude to criticism - though a lucid turn of phrase might be a disqualification given they all talk in Birtspeak.

    - Avast ye!

    Privacy Pirate

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Smear Campaign?

    Why is it that Krud seems like the smear on the bottom of your shoe?

    Even Paris knows to scrape stuff like him off her shoes..

  59. Alan Fisher
    Pirate

    Privacy Pirate

    I wonder when Kent will figure out just how Oxymoronic that epithet is? Probably never because it's a clever "sound byte" for the media which doesn't have to actually mean anything as long as it sounds snappy

    of course no-one will query or question -> people love their snappy-sounding nonsense and phorm will of course get away with it because anyone who objects is a Privacy Pirate, and nobody wants to be one of those now do they???

    Yarrrrgh!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Privacy Pirates

    Where's Roger Daltrey when we need him most? <snigger>

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ The virgin fan toby robertson

    "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"

    Should read The Reg a bit more often. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/22/virgin_media_phorm_nma/

    Virgin are not only in bed with Phorm but they are currently spooning and it wont be long before the cherrys popped

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheerio

    I've followed Phorm since before they even reached the public view. I've even had some (I cannot stress how small this "some" is) sympathy with them, partly as I knew some junior employees who worked their arses off.

    But this looks fundamentally broken to me. At what stage does a corporation start deliberately smearing it's critics instead of engaging them ?

    This is the sign of a company in it's death throes. It just is. The phorm I knew was so cocky, so full of itself, that it simply would not have stooped so low.

    This is from a company that used to openly boast (within office walls anyway) about it's control over the Home Office and scoff anyone who dared question them. Guess what ? You lost. Game over boys. How the mighty have fallen.

  63. Barry
    Coat

    LMFAO

    HA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHHA etc etc etc

    The stop phoul play site should be nominated for best comedy site 2009.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @toby robertson

    Er...Virgin? Are you sure about that? I seem to recall that almost from day one there have been three major ISPs in talks with Phorm: BT, Talk Talk (Carphone Warehouse) and...wait for it...Virgin Media. So far, only BT seems to have gone as far down the line as actually carrying out trials (illegal or otherwise) and the others have gone pretty quiet on the subject, but I haven't heard any confirmation that they have dropped the idea either.

  65. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Boffin

    'Privacy Pirate' is a rather strong term

    Bordering on the libellous perhaps? (or perhaps slander, as blogs are more akin to verbal diarrhoea than to the printed word).

    I always understood the word 'pirate' to refer to someone who robs and kills on the high seas. Then there is the received meaning that derives from 'pirate' radio (where boats broadcasting music without paying royalties would be positioned in international waters). This would appear to be where the music industry gets its erroneous term of 'piracy' which is basically just copyright infringement (not even theft IMHO as it doesn't deprive anyone of their possessions).

    There would appear to be a rather large leap from those committing a criminal offence under international law, via those committing the much less severe civil offence of home taping, to innocent individuals voicing their concern about the use of their personal data for insidious marketing purposes. It could even be argued that it is Phorm themselves who are positioning themselves closer to the murdering ocean-going scumbags in this scale of criminality.

    SO:

    My question is this - (and IANAL) - How would those people named in this 'blog' from the fine and upstanding Mr Ertugrul, who have been referred to as 'Privacy Pirates' fare in a libel case brought against this paragon of business ethics?

  66. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    I did not realise he looks like a young Steve Jobs

    And from comments I have read of the Apple management style in the early 80s, that is not a good thing.

    I pictured a shiny suite and a more jelled hairstyle. With some chunky gold neck chains.

    Technically he's not paranoid. He's delusional. A lot of people are out to get him. Anyone who cares about privacy and understands what a massive invasion of privacy (for private profit) this is for starters. His delusion is thinking if we just understood his company a bit better we'd learn to love it. I think a large chunk of the Reg readership understand Phorm quite well. Being apparently hand-in-blouse with the Home Secretary does not exactly increase my fondness for the man or his company.

  67. Maurice Shakeshaft
    Coat

    Sadly, Ken't suceeded.

    We're all talking about Him and Phorm. Who said there's no such thing as bad publicity?

    That we are fighting for our freedom from illicit and illegal scrutiny makes us Internet terrorists and Pirates. Surely he's right?

    "Alice. put that Rabbit down at once and go and get me some more tarts!" said Kent.

  68. FoolD
    Coat

    Conspiracy?

    Surprise! The Register - a place where IT professionals (the people most able to fully comprehend the systems behind Phorm's DPI) commonly visit and post is against this technology.

    Duh - that may be because they understand the technology and can see through Phorm's PR/spin to see the privacy violations and scope for mission-creep - or even outright mis-use - inherent within.

    There is no conspiracy; any sane person who understands what they propose is against it.

    /coat - maybe it's time for Kent to get his.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    no phorm

    I to am with TitanADSL and they are the best with no port bloacking or anything on their network.

    I dont understand why users who dont want phorm want to stay with their ISP just leave.

  70. Ian
    Pirate

    I've already banged in an FoI request

    "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.

    I didn't couch it in ah-har, Jim lad, I be a privacy pirate, ha ha. But I was tempted.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Suggested T&C's

    Why dont Phorm / BT advertise it, using a true description of what it does? It doesnt have to be a long winded technical description and let people opt-IN (with only opt-IN traffic going via the profilers)?

    Sample :

    If you would like us to offer you targeted advertising through our partner websites by us recording every single website you ever visit please opt in to the system by clicking here

    There, that should do it, simple and to the point. Who wouldnt sign up if it was put like that?

  72. N Silver badge

    @ John Smith

    Being apparently hand-in-blouse with the Home Secretary does not exactly increase my fondness for the man or his company.

    How very eloquently said, couldnt have done it better.

  73. Secretgeek

    I've just had a scooby at the website...

    ....and it looks like something I'd expect to read from the Co$.

    Highly amusing. Thanks for that Kent.

  74. amanfromMars Silver badge

    As Plain as Day ..... a ZeroDay Tool

    "A spokesman said: "Any suggestion of 'collusion' is totally unfounded. We have repeatedly said since these documents were released a year ago that the Government has not endorsed Phorm or its technology.

    "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.""

    Which in not the same as saying that they are not using the technology or that others who would be au fait with it, are not supplying them with ....well, it would be considered privileged insider information in some circles. Although given the State of Everything, they are obviously not much good at using IT.

    However, as convenient as it may be to be able to pharm and harvest intelligence and obviously also "groom" subjects with product/information placements, it is also equally easily used by those who would groom the System to supply Phorm Savvy Beings/Third Parties with whatever they would need/require/want ........ for they would be XXXXStreamly Valuable Allies when Discretion is also a Greater Part of their Valour.

  75. Blacklight

    I'm still missing the point...

    I watched the little presentation they provide on how their system works :

    http://www.phorm.com/about/introducing/phorm_priv_rev4.html

    So, if I visit a camera site, I'm given a camera advert? Now, if I visit a site selling something (anything!) I EXPECT advertisements - in fact, I'm fairly sure the site owner will provide links to adverts of their OWN CHOOSING (Google Adsense for example?). I don't object to most adverts (except those full screen/page delay bloody things) - however I DO object to the fact that my browsing would be routed via a third party, and the content altered 'in flight', and I'm "just" the browser, not the content/site owner!

    I would heartily recommend all site admins get an SSL certificate - they aren't expensive, and they'll stop Phorm (or anyone else) rewriting the content as it's all encrypted - unless of course this is a MITM system which is capable of rewriting/recertifying pages - and if it is, then I'm sure we'll all be objecting to someone intercepting banking information etc - not just browser history.

    Do NOT want, am NOT interested.

  76. Pete
    Pirate

    Just impulse bought www.stopphoulplay.info

    any ideas of where I should point it?

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Seriously,

    Are they trying to convince me with this site that I want their product?

    Well they just phucking convinced me.

    Dont they realise that the public just dont want this under any circumstances?

    blah blah blah 'it will improve your experience'... yeah right. Buck chasing shysters, phuck oph our network.

  78. Richard
    Thumb Up

    @Pete 16:14

    Kents ringpiece? (:

  79. DrXym Silver badge

    Phorm deserves its criticism and more

    Sniffing data from packets is akin to spying on someone's TV viewing, or listening to their phone calls, or reading their email, or inspecting the contents of their fridge. And then using that information to deliver targetted advertising.

    The only way this type of intrusion is way moral or defensible is if its opt-in and the participants are rewarded in some way for providing such information. Participants should also be told in plain English some of the potential ways their data might be used.

    If it is compulsary, tied to service functionality, or opt-out results in diminished performance (e.g. because packets are routed another way) then it is a reprehensible imposition and intrusion of privacy. I don't know any way to say it other than the ISPs and phorm should go to hell.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    How to opt out your websites

    @Steve Coburn

    "How do you go about opting out websites you run."

    http://www2.bt.com/static/i/btretail/webwise/help.html#how-do-i-prevent-webwise-from-scanning-my-site

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Blacklight

    No, you'll only get served Phorm-generated adverts by sites that have signed up to OIX. These sites will have an ad graphic where the content is provided by Phorm, based on what the profiler has previously built up about you.

    So, a camera site is unlikely to sign up to OIX because, as you say, you'd likely get lots of adverts for other sites that sell cameras. As I understand it, you'd only likely see Phorm-generated ads on sites that don't actually sell anything themselves. Phorm astro-turfers, please correct me if I'm wrong. I would suggest that there's always a risk that the OIX-ads you host will be working against you in some way, e.g. if The Guardian ever used OIX, they might find adverts being served for current-affairs sites, which would cause The Guardian to potentially lose customers.

    Some people seem to think that Phorm will over-write other adverts, but that's not the case (again, as far as I understand it). Only sites who host OIX-provided adverts (and of course have paid for the privilege) will display Phorm-related adverts.

    The whole interception thing and lack of opt-in rather than a not-really-opt-out kills it for me.

  82. James

    Phorm is a phront

    for govt snooping.

    ads my ass.

  83. Marcus
    Pirate

    Downing Street petition

    @Ian

    Here's the Downing Street petition, which received 21,403 signatures:

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ispphorm/

    Best wishes

    another Privacy Pirate!

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    www.stopphoulplay.info

    @Pete

    You could point it here...

    http://www.antiphorm.co.uk/

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Holy cow

    This guy's blob is scary - I thought Phorm was frightening before, but one look at his front page and I'm really scared now! All the evidence against Phorm is right there in one handy place.

    Remind me again, was he supposed to be convincing us of how good Phorm is or how dangerous?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Lets show him how annoying adverts are

    Anyone got his address,

    I suggest we all keep a large envelope near our letter box, Simply place all the crap the post office delivers us and when full post, repeat until they can't gain access to their office.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Blacklight

    Of course we really have no idea what phorm gets up to with your data, they say they incorporate all kinds of safeguards, but if you check out their patent it boasts about how they can analyse and invisibly alter or replace any or all of your data. Their former CTO boasted that they could 'see all of the Internet'. Remember all the content of every page you browse is available to them. But you do trust old don't-call-it-spyware Mr Ertegrul, don't you? BT and the Home Office seem to.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I Love Kent's Webwise

    If he was to post on his website, Phorm was Evil, everybody would probably start using it because they would have to believe the opposite.

    Everything I hear or see what this Guy does or says makes me think the opposite must be is true.

    It is not a massive PR team that man needs it's a gag. I love him. He is the best thing for privacy campaigners since we found out one of his last companies was 121Media. Look them up, they are well known to many anti spyware companies.

    Paris because she knows when to keep her mouth shut.

  89. blackworx

    HHOS

    Wow, just wow. The sheer audacity. What an absolute twunt.

    And El Reg: a big +1 from me re. the requests for some kind of generic anti-snooping icon. It could replace the largely superfluous smiley face, with the sad face to be replaced by, oh I don't know, Jackboot Jacqui's head on a swine flu-infested pig's body, eating greedily out of a trough filled with taxpayers' souls. Or something. You might be a bit pushed for space on that one but I'm sure you're more than a match for the task.

  90. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    Sun exclusive

    These are pictures of the mysterious man neighbours say has been a regular visitor to Jacqui Smith's London home.

    The man, described as being in his late 30s has a well developed tan and speaks with an American accent. Neighbours say they thought they heard the Home Secretary call him "Trent, or something like that."

    Mrs Smith was unavailable for comment as we went to press.

    Mine will be the one with a CD of the GIMP in the pocket.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, remember?

  91. RW
    Alien

    @ Secretgeek

    Secretgeek: "I've just had a scooby at the website ... and it looks like something I'd expect to read from the Co$."

    Ertugrul is also using the scientological method of "double-curving" attacks by accusing your attackers of the very thing they are attacking you for. Who's the real privacy pirate around here? Phorm, of course (along with assorted jacquismith types). So following good ol' LRH's book'o'nonsense they throw that very accusation back at their critics.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least to discover that Ertugrul is a scientologist. Perhaps some mole in the movement can investigate and report back?

    Body thetans at the ready, everyone! Prepare to fend off Xenu attacks!

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Friends, what friends?

    Phorm are about to find out how transient 'friendship' with the Home Office is.

    Civil servants will be scurrying to cover their own arses and Phorm can go phuck themsleves as phar as they're concerned.

    On a personal note, I have never been so happy to see a company implode. The personality of the man at the top has enabled Phorm to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory... splendid!

    Yarr!

  93. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Privacy Pirates

    Phorm: Together with the government we have commercially and de-facto legally appropriated your privacy. To try to take it from us is piracy.

    Your probably a terrorist and pedophile too, so its only right that we check on you.

    At the risk of "aiding and abetting terrorists," if you want to send jihadi email messages undetected, just keep it short, in html, with a linked graphic, no sender name and a subject line of "Is your embarrassingly tiny package holding you back from all night watches with HSBC account suspension?" and no-one will take any notice of the contents.

    Or you could just use the el reg comment form and with the "where's the IT angle?" icon.

  94. Mike Gravgaard
    Linux

    Open letter to Kent:

    Dear Kent Ertugrul,

    Thanks for your very informative Stop Phoul Play campaign (www.stopphoulplay.com) whilst I don't agree with your opinions and I have no intention to use your technology, I think I should make my opinions on your campaign, your technology and your company.

    My opinions are:

    - I don't want my internet activity or my families internet activity profiled for advertising, etc - personally I believe ISPs should be forced to reveal if they use this technology or not (in the same way that cigarettes packets contain health warnings).

    - I don't want to pay to use your technology - this should be optional with signed consent (not assumed consent) if wanted.

    -You seem to have missed out a few people from your "This is who they are" section whom are also against form- i.e. Tim Berners Lee, some ISPs, some privacy advocates and the EU.

    - Please stop trying to argue that your right and we are wrong - a lot of people whom read The Register work in the computing sector and we don't want your technology (is this really unclear?).

    - The BT secret trails were illegal - if you think, this is wrong why not sue the EU for damages (I'm sure the UK government don't take this stand any more but maybe you should ask for their support/opinion??).

    - I don't want DPI technology looking at my traffic - I have nothing to hide but I don't want an unknown stalker especially by a company which previously was involved with spyware - I pay for my connection and whilst I don't like the idea of the government doing this either I feel they have a better argument for it that yourselves (I don't want them doing it either).

    Thanks

    Mike Gravgaard

    PS Please stop.

    Tux cause like him, I want to be free!!

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Pete - www.stopphoulplay.info

    http://www.DoNotTrustWebwise.org

  96. Point

    Old news

    It should be noted that the documents referred to by Baroness Miller and certain other people, which reference conversations involving the Home Office were posted here: https://www.dephormation.org.uk/index.php?page=12 last year. This is rather an old story and one that is being spun out of all proportions. One has to ask why now when the anti-Phorm lobby have been in receipt of this information for nearly a year?

  97. Al
    Flame

    Oh, it's amazing...

    ... do they ever give up? Will they keep crying and moaning even after they're bankrupt?!

    Why can't anyone ever admit that maybe they had a bad idea?

    It's so simple, you CANNOT increase privacy by doing ADDITIONAL reading and processing of data at intermediate points on the route. END OF STORY!

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright infringement

    Phorm is going to be taken to court over this, too many website owners don't want this to happen and it is their content in the main.

    What Phorm are doing is akin to walking into a book shop and sticking ads into books after reading the books for free. Terms and conditions are all set to change, and Phorm is going to be persona no gratis all over.

    The trick is not to mention Phorm directly so as to give them no validity, just the action of a tap and changing the content of the HTTP packet is not allowed on this site any attempt to do so is considered a breach of copyright.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    blackbeard

    The "privacy pirate" they used comes from a blogger called blackbeard. He pointed out that if your viewing your medical records online phorm and BT would be in the dark brown stuff very quickly if they used automated processing. Phorm did not reply in anyway to that, after all how could they, so i guess thats where "privacy pirate" came from. It certainly must have got there full attention as its the only part of the data protection act which really interferes with there aims and objectives.

    Paris, bet she would like a jolly roger from blackbeard.

  100. Maty

    Pirates?

    Are those the people who want to put their adverts on other people's copyright material without paying? Or are they the people who are against the idea?

    Intercepting ships on the high seas for one's own profit is piracy. Now phorm reckons that objecting to the intercepting of other people's data for profit is also piracy. Biggest load of crap I've read since ... oh yes, Jackie Smith saying the govt is "Committed to protecting the privacy of UK consumers"

  101. Fredly
    Alert

    Who is this mysterious "appropriate authority"?

    Now I'm not as technically savvy as most of you on here but I do read widely, this statement:

    ""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.""

    seems to have one major flaw from what I have read, namely no "authority" is interested in investigating, they all wash their hands or claim it isn't in their remit. This is a seriously pathetic way of HMG sticking their collective heads in the sand and hoping it will all go away (I say this as the best possible reason, the others are too frightening to comprehend, I will be re-reading Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm this weekend!)

    I'm seriously considering ditching all my electronic communications and going back to good old books, newspapers and face to face chats.

  102. Paul
    Flame

    "Get The Facts"?

    Any campaign which uses the phrase "Get The Facts" prominently, everywhere, can generally be assumed to be 100% grade-A bullshit.

    May Phorm and their apologists burn in Hell.

  103. Opcode
    Unhappy

    Phuck Phorm

    I remember seeing some rather odd activity during BT/Phorm's illegal trial, and quite frankly, I will be taking every step possible to ensure that my clients and my own surfing habits are not monitored.

    I understand that DPI can be used for traffic shaping and quota management which I grudgingly will accept to a point, but for blatant commercialism?

    I guess it's about time I dusted of ye old trusty "black hat" and size 10 hobnail boots because I'm not standing for this crap.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    DIY PR

    This is what happens when you have an angry muppet in charge of an unpopular and failing company whose PR pot has run out. The slick (but actually indigestably greasy) initial PR from the pros was good but couldn't polish the steaming brown stuff Ertriguls malware pimps were laying. As the cash has run out, the plastic grins have given way to unwise flashes of temper and lamentable tactics.

    I think the new website is the logical progression from Kents little outburst at the meeting where phorm wasn't invited to sit on the panel, reducing Kent to ranting from the floor, prompting one of his henchmen to counsel ..."not now Kent". His evident temper has apparently finally got the better of him and his self destructive streak given full rein.

    The utterly bizarre "privacy pirate" comment suggests that in trying to protect our privacy (and thus deny its exploitation by the weasel tendency) we are attempting to steal something we do not own, and which Kent presumably considers his to plunder as of right. Hence we are "privacy pirates".

    @AC 12:08 has caught the flavour of this nicely, I think:

    "Next he'll be sitting around reading "Guns and Ammo" and masturbating into his own faeces."

    about sums them up really.

    Proud as hell to wear the label "privacy pirate" as a badge of honour.

  105. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Joke

    Give the guy a break!

    He actually BELIEVES in this Ph0Rm stuff you know!

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Methinks

    .....he doth protest too much.

  107. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Turning over a New Leaf ....... for Every Chance at Glory rather than Certain Defeats

    "(8) Utilize, when available, foreign government-derived MASINT or MASINT-related data and services necessary for SIGINT and GEOINT and their related applications.

    (9) Foster sharing of MASINT with foreign partners and governments, consistent with policy, constraints, and restrictions." ..... Page7/14, http://cryptome.org/dodi/dodi-5105-58.pdf

    Those two lines from a quite long Specific/Department of Defence Instruction are only two reasons why Phorm, which is MASINT by another name and in another Guise/Operational Cloak, is not ever going to go away and is more ubiquitous than you will ever know. And you should be thankful that it is so, even though, as in all dual purpose/multi-purpose technologies/human intellectual endeavours can it quite easily be subverted and perverted to perform White Knight Standards in Black Hat Operations with Idiot Savants and Sub-Prime Systems Administration.

    However, such is the Nature of the Core Algorithm in such Technology/Intellectual Endeavour, that such Foolish and Immature Short-Sighted Use, will always be Self-Destructive to varying Degrees of Catastrophe and Personalised Exposure to Executive Sanction/Peer Reprisal.

    Oh ...and you might like to consider that the Windows System Automatic Update function, provides you with everything MicroSoft Needs to maintain your Feeds ...... which would be an Incestuous/Parasitic/White Knight Black Hat Special Relationship but nevertheless QuITe Beneficial? And that would be a Service which Rises to Previously Unimagined Heights or Falls into all Manner of Degrading and Despotic Despair, depending upon the Nature of ITs Leadership and Intelligence in its Board Room.

    The bottom line is Simplicity itself ...... Knowing your sweet tooth habits/darkest dirtiest secrets allows affirmative, confirmative ProAction ....... although IT is prone to spectacular failures of metadatabase analysis on the dark side, as MI5's recent own goal against Pakistan shows very clearly.

    Can you imagine the phun when one has the phorm on leaders and their opposite numbers? Welcome to the World of Virtual Weaponry ........ with ITs Future AIMission and Common Good Purpose, To explore strange new worlds, To seek out new private secrets and new hidden agendas, To boldly go where no probing investigation has gone before.

  108. Hashem

    Since when is our government commited to protecting our privacy?

    Recently scrapped plans for a centralised database for recording all communications data springs to mind? Supposedly scrapped due to privacy concerns, although it looks to me more like funding issues, since instead ISP's will be forced to record all that data anyway. And there were over half a million requests in 2007 for information from ISP's.

    It is almost entirely impossible to expect even a basic level of privacy as it is, I'm not sure how Phorm can even phase us.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if Kent...

    ... spends his nights rocking back and forth, clutching a 12 bore and muttering "can't sleep, privacy pirates will eat me, can't sleep, privacy pirates will eat me"

  110. Loki
    Thumb Up

    Phorm is great!!!

    Seriously listen. If i like to look at porn, then Phorm will ensure i will get more adverts for porn. Naturally being interested in such adverts (or at least the images on them) i will look at even more porn. In return i will get even more porn adverts.

    Within a few weeks i presume my computer will be absolutely overloaded with porn. Surely i will be a very happy person!

  111. Andy Watt
    Thumb Up

    Wicked.

    What more can I say? Phorm is wicked, and their gradual strangled demise is also wicked.

    And you know which way to interpret those two.

    This is all great fun, especially to watch. See Kurt go red!

    The press (and el reg, I hope) will be looking for resurrection of this technology in the future once Kurt's little carry-on dies a deserved death.

    PEOPLE POWER IN ACTION!

    Incidentally (and on a totally unrelated topic) the petition to get Gordon Brown to resign (which is, let's face it, about the only way we can shout at the useless bastardm, even if he does ignore it) is now no 2 for signatures on the ePetitions site!

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/list/open?sort=signers

    go on, sign it. Tell gordno (who has been there (albeit as chancellor to being with) while this Phorm debacle has unfolded... including the home office "collusion" (which looks like it's subjectively worse that actual collusion, but is instead the home office's utter incompetence in understanding the technology and a seeming unwillingness to consult academics on it, instead naively approaching the company rolling out the snoopware... that's unforgiveable.).

  112. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    EURIPIDES WUZ HERE

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

    How wunnerful, then, to see that stupid Kent's website, latest of the ever more deranged attempts to salvage the wreck of The Phorm.

    (Just think though: a website with the official stamp of approval of, er, Norman Lamont: you really couldn't make this up.)

    Nice touch, though, about El Reg and its role in the abrogation of Phorm because it certainly makes clear that the "abolition by authoritative action " of Phorm is exactly what El Reg and thousands of its readers intend, even if the, um, authorities are too thick / too sleaze-ridden to accomplish that.

    Three cheers for Kent and Norm! And here's to the next PR stunt: the Reichstag Strategy, via which an entirely phony attack will be mounted in order to win sympathy and support. Yee-hah!

    Phorm is as dead as the last Major enterprise Norman got his hands on: the UK economy. It can't lie down yet because it's still lying and anyway, Norman's hardly going to be daft enough to tell Kent of its demise when there's still a nice little earner to be had from pretending it's still a goer.

    * Paris, because she's never heard of Norman Lamont but knows what the word 'abrogate' actually means.

  113. 3x2
    Pirate

    Oi ... Media Mouthpiece

    Leave poor Kent alone! He is obviously in the middle of some kind of break down.

    What a strange site.

    (I got my copy before it disappears)

  114. James Pickett
    Stop

    Home Office collusion

    Perhaps they should read Phorm's FAQ...

    "We don't agree with FIPR's analysis. And its description of the Phorm system is inaccurate. Our technology complies with the Data Protection Act, RIPA and other applicable UK laws. We've sought our own legal opinions as well as consulted widely with experts such as Ernst & Young, 80/20 Thinking, the Home Office, Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). We discussed our system with the ICO prior to launching it and continue to be in dialogue with the organisation. "

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Other Media

    OK, let's take Phorm to a different level

    Can you see Ofcom approving Sky monitoring the television programs watched by each individual viewer to build a viewing pattern THEN broadcasting INDIVIDUAL adverts to those subscribers ?

    Yes, we all know Sky monitors our current viewing habits (well, not mine since I don't have Sky, but I did work for them), but they don't then sell the information on individual viewers for commercial gain (or at least they haven't admitted they do).

    S T O P P H O R M N O W ! ! !

  116. Chris Hunt
    Pirate

    Arr mateys

    'Tis a battle royal betwen us Privacy Pirates and Phorm's Nosey Ninjas. I wonder who will win...

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Watch the video/flash

    There is a flash video animation thingy showing how phorm operates without storing any data. it assigns a random ID. Not using your ip to generate said number (Number collisions are a plenty there).

    It also says that no data is stored even for a instant. (Doesnt storing data in ram even for the processing time class as storage for an instant)

    It KEEPS saying they delete data irrecoverably and that their data cannot be intercepted (Some amazing h4x there. And im sure their not doing multiple overwrites on the data *at least 7 random number overwrites*)

  118. John Smith Gold badge
    Happy

    Phorm boss blogs from a dark, dark place

    Sadly not the one quite a few people would like to see him in.

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