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Orange Rejects Phorm But Hears The Siren Song of Ads

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The Financial Times is reporting that UK ISP Orange will not use an advertising product from Phorm (s PHRM) because of concerns about user privacy. This would make Orange the odd man out in the country. BT (s BT), Virgin Media (s VMED) and TalkTalk are all still on board with Phorm, although their resolve may be weakening, judging by the fact that none of them have put Phorm’s product in commercial use yet. Phorm uses deep packet inspection to serve ads based on the sites a consumer visits. A similar company, NebuAd, caused an uproar earlier this year, after Charter Communications said it would deploy the service. Charter quickly backed off.

Paul-François Fournier, senior vice-president of Orange’s online advertising division, expressed interest in using customer data for advertising, but says he recognized that privacy was a key issue. He told the FT, “Privacy is in our DNA, so we need to be honest and clear about what we are doing. We have decided not to be in Phorm because of that … The way it was proposed, the privacy issue was too strong.”

Privacy issues may have stopped Orange in this case, but ISPs are increasingly looking for a revenue boost, and the detailed stream of data passing through their pipes is like a vein of gold they can’t wait to mine. Earlier this year at a Congressional hearing on privacy, the major U.S. carriers sought to regulate themselves on privacy issues, while also trying to figure out a way to get consumers to buy into the practice through lower rates or promising a better surfing experience.

Given that Time Warner Cable (s TWC) is able to market a bandwidth cap to people in Beaumont, Texas, under the guise of a lower-priced bundle, I’m sure cable and telecommunications companies will figure out the right incentive for most people to give up their privacy.

9 Responses to “Orange Rejects Phorm But Hears The Siren Song of Ads”

  1. @BobLake

    I have been watching this BT/Phorm System for Two Years & have seen their Original Pages & Full Page ADS which you cannot block with any Protection Software on your PC due to the fact that this DPI system uses Redirections to insert code & entire web pages not asked for by the Web Users.

    As for other things some of their code is plain illegal, or some employee of the Phorm System is altering the Software Code on that Device without proper authorization?

    I haven’t Surfed for Personal Items or Sensitive Subjects for over a Year now without using a VPN Service, because once the ISP has intercepted (without Lawful Permission) the “Data intended for someone else” the Communication System can no longer be said to be Private or Safe to Use!

    And Once again we see the same response from a possible Phorm Troll without any Data to back Up such accusations, see below.

    The “most Vocal critics” of this System are Technologists & WebPage designers who know exactly how these Systems are designed & how the Protocols are Supposed to work, Phorm subverts many of these Protocols in order to gain direct access the the Web Browser or Application & in some case access to other Programs & data on the PC!
    (Call that uneducated without backup info???)

    Typical uneducated responses on here.

  2. Typical uneducated responses on here. The Phorm system and any system like it only looks at very select traffic and then very select info within that traffic. From my reseearch they track nothing more than key words and URLs and advertisng related traffic. The system attaches an anonymous user ID to each IP.

    Be far more afraid of Google as they see and track and keep much much more user info than any Phorm like technology.

  3. Question for the Phorm CEO who seems so proud of being able to preserve peoples privacy & data? :(

    How can you help People preserve their Privacy & Data Integrity by looking at all their data without any permission to do so; using an “Illegal Wiretap” :( :( :(

  4. If they go near Nebuad UK it will be like going from the Frying Pan into the Fire.
    I hope Orange & other ISP/Networks realize that this sort of system is a “pipe dream” dreamt up by advertisers as a “magic bullet”.

    As soon as anything like this becomes intrusive People have a natural habit of changing habits to confuse the Intrusions!

    All this reminds me of the problem caused when a mathematician put Risk on both sides of an equation & then eliminated it because it was assumed to be equal on both sides of the equation.
    {The medium you are running in however still exists on both sides though as the Stock Market found out,& is also finding out NOW)

    Why don’t they realize that there is no real “magic bullet” it is all down to good presentation without overloading the Customer on or near the Point of Sale!