* Posts by tech idiot

8 posts • joined 7 Mar 2008

The Guardian ditches Phorm

tech idiot
Joke

Obviously, we have different definitions of straight...

Hey Julian Maynard-Smith,

It appears that you have the PR habit of deliberately talking at cross purposes. Perhaps this tactic works on the occasional clueless consumer but not likely here. You say -

"We hold no data" - I couldn't care less because I challenge your assertion that you have ANY right in law to even take the merest peek at what my data might be. No data stream = No business.

"The system is legal" - because you say so? You've tested your assertion in front of the courts right? Start saving, it's going to be very expensive.

"Web publishers benefit from the system too" - I'm not a publisher so have no interest in this.

Julian, looks like this little episode won't be going on the CV under "My PR triumphs" eh?! Better luck with the "Bracknell Refuse Collection Initiative Newsletter" or whatever else it is that you normally "work" on.

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

@The Other Steve

I agree that the law seams pretty clear on the intercept/DP side but this was obviously not the case at BT! My suspicion is that they intend to play the long game and that's why we need an explicit law stating that there is no grounds for intercepting the data stream without express permission. If the law states this then they'll have to give in. I'm also suspect that the ISPs will introduce differential pricing to hardball customers into the program. Again, if the law was crystal clear then this won't fly.

Paris - because it's always worth examing the detail....really closely

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

just the first skirmish

It's great news that the Guardian have seen sense at least for now but there is a more fundamental fight to win. We need legislation expressly proscribing intercept by the ISP or anyone else without opt-in. The fact that Phorm, BT, The Guardian etc. thinks that this could fly shows that the law is shaky.

How about El Reg starting a petition for web privacy a la the same privacy we expect from our mail and telephone services. This won't go away easily - too much cash to be had!!

Paris - because now she can stop boycotting her daily fix of The Guardian, the FT will have to wait!

Top security firm: Phorm is adware

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

Pop! The sweet sound of another bubble bursting!

Fancy a laugh at the expense of the investors?

http://www.iii.co.uk/investment/detail?code=cotn:PHRM.L&display=discussion&it=le

Enjoy.

In response to one of the investors whining - "But what have they got to hide?"

Paris says - "well nothing...obviously..I'm for sharing!"

Dear ISP, I am not a target market

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

The truth will out!!

Q: There are inconsistencies appearing. Phorm told The Register that data is still passed to the "Profiler" even if people opt-out, but apparently the "Profiler" is owned by the ISP, which is how they claim no personal data is sent to Phorm, as per the reply to the BBC.

Chris, I don't know if you've seen this on the BBC technology pages. They followed uo with some much harder hitting questions.

Q: There are inconsistencies appearing. Phorm told The Register that data is still passed to the "Profiler" even if people opt-out, but apparently the "Profiler" is owned by the ISP, which is how they claim no personal data is sent to Phorm, as per the reply to the BBC.

A: This isn't inconsistent. The Profiler is owned by the ISP. If someone opts out no data is passed from the ISP to Phorm.

Q: However, I would like to know who provides the software for the "Profiler" and if it's not written by the ISP, how does the ISP check that it does what it's meant to?

A: Phorm provides the software for the profiles, just like Cisco, for example, provides software for an ISP router. The ISP can see exactly what data is being passed in and out of its systems and has complete control over it.

They've finally admitted that the ISPs do all the dirty whilst Phorm are a conduit for pimping the data to content providers. The obvious question is what happens at the ISP level if I don't show the Phorm cookie? i.e. Am I profiled?

Also think your right to state that this opens a can of worms for the future. If they can profile some then why not all?

Paris is excited - imagine all those new "fans" that this marvellous profiling lark will throw up. You can never have too many "admirers"!

Phorm launches data pimping fight back

tech idiot
Stop

Getting the lowdown...Finally!! (and it's not good)

Just pulled this from the BBC technology interview with Phorm_

Q: There are inconsistencies appearing. Phorm told The Register that data is still passed to the "Profiler" even if people opt-out, but apparently the "Profiler" is owned by the ISP, which is how they claim no personal data is sent to Phorm, as per the reply to the BBC.

A: This isn't inconsistent. The Profiler is owned by the ISP. If someone opts out no data is passed from the ISP to Phorm.

Q: However, I would like to know who provides the software for the "Profiler" and if it's not written by the ISP, how does the ISP check that it does what it's meant to?

A: Phorm provides the software for the profiles, just like Cisco, for example, provides software for an ISP router. The ISP can see exactly what data is being passed in and out of its systems and has complete control over it.

-

The conclusion from this is that the ISP do the profiling not Phorm!!

Phorm "helps" (ahem!) the ISP set up the profiling servers that strip the data Phorm wants to see, and it's the ISPs' profiling servers that decide whether or not to pass the data to Phorm. In effect, the multitude of well rehearsed answers that Phorm have been giving over the last few days are more or less, factually correct. They just "forgot" to mention that they've dodged the issue by getting the ISPs to do all the controversial stuff. It's always what they don't say that's far more interesting!!

El Reg needs to move past Phorm and tackle the ISPs. Ask the ISPs the same questions and we might get some uncomfortable staring-at-feet type behaviour.

Q. Do the ISP servers profile EVERYONE irrespective of opt-in/opt-out?

Because after all, that's what they'd love to do!

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

Shifting Sands

Just had a look at the interview text on badphorm.com and it appears that the message is changing which makes me even more suspicious. Phorm are now claiming that the absence of a cookie OR a cookie that has opt-out indicated will automatically mean that their equipment never sees the data stream i.e. that the ISP is controlling the opt-in opt-out switch not Phorm and that contrary to what most of us previously understood, Phorm doesn't profile all ISP account holders no matter what. That's what they're now claiming anyway.

This now looks like the ISPs are far more culpable than Phorm and I suspected that there'd be no way the authorities would allow a 3rd party to control the opt-in opt-out in the way we've all believed. My guess is that in a way, Phorm is a front for the ISPs. The coincedences are too strong. The ISPs want a piece of Google's pie and they've been persuaded that profiling is the key. All that Phorm will do is act as an agent of the ISPs to flog the profiles to advertisers. If BT, TalkTalk, VM etc. all acted together to do this and didn't have Phorm as a middle-man then they'd be in deep trouble with the competition commission and the EU trade commissioner. In effect, their gambit is to achieve the same outcome by letting Phorm do the dirty for them. Phorm becomes the proxy collective negotiator with the content providers on behalf of the ISPs. From the content providers point of view this deal stinks since they now face an instantly created monopoly on who can provide this service. One Phorm to rule them all!!

Phorm's PR offensive is extraordinary. They are super-prepared so knew this was coming. This makes perfect business sense for the ISPs. They need to understand exactly what the law will allow and what it won't. If the end result is that after all the dust has settled they are free to profile account holders then no matter all the bad publicity it will be worth it. Imagine how much your bank and credit card company could make if they were allowed to profile your spending habits and sell the results to advertisers!! I suspect that's why the story is shifting. Who owns what servers/switches? - at what point is the profiling turned on/off? - are all account holders profiled? - what terms are searched? etc. etc. all these questions are receiving subtly different answers as Phorm works through what it might get away with and what it won't! The ISPs keeping their heads down looks like a plan hatched in advance since it would be impossible for them not to contradict each other at least in fine detail if not catastrophically.

This looks increasingly like an ambush by the ISPs. They needed to work as a cartel to do this or there would have been mass migration away from the profiling ISP(s). Phorm may well turn out to be just a patsy. The Register needs to turn the heat on the ISPs smartish.

Paris' "agent" wonders out loud - now if I can just persuade Phorm to include Paris+Hilton+*********+******* in their lexicon I'll be rich, Rich, RICH

tech idiot
Paris Hilton

Very Expensive PR

They've been very well coached!! They use a few tried and trusted sales techniques in an attempt to divert attention from the central issue but as always, what they didn't say is more relevant.

Looks like all ISP account holders will be subject to profiling whether opted in or out. If they could turn this off then they would have said so and the story would deflate. The fact the the data stream is ALWAYS monitored by this system indicates a far higher level of buy-in by the ISPs. My hunch is that the ISPs see a huge potential in providing advertisers with detailed breakdown of their account holders' habits. This is the start of a land-grab by BT, TalkTalk etc. to rip some of Google's revenue stream. The obvious conclusion would be ISPs selling this service direct to advertisers. The reason that they've done the deal with Phorm in the way that they have says to me that despite all the bluster they have serious worries about legal and commercial issues otherwise why not just license Phorm or copy the principle? Although I'm sure they know it, Phorm is the patsy fall-guy when the s**t hits the fan!! This will be buried! Nice try though.

Paris asks - can I alter my profile to make sure I ONLY get adds from cam-corder merchants?

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019