Blog Post

Private Emails Reveal BBC Considering Blocking ‘Insidious’ Phorm

Many senior BBC executives want to follow Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Wikipedia by opting out of on-net behavioural ad targeter Phorm – a blow which could trigger a damaging flood of similar requests. A Freedom Of Information request has uncovered a flurry of private emails exchanged in the last few months, as the Beeb and the commercial BBC Worldwide wing brainstormed what to do about the system, which wants to help publishers better target ads by anonymously categorising ISP customers’ every web visit. The emails reveal…

— Future media and technology controller Anthony Rose (pictured) thinks Phorm is “a flawed business model … I don’t see Phorm surviving long-term, which would limit the amount of time and energy that we need to devote to Phorm”. He’s satisfied the data collected by Phorm is anonymous, but brands the collection method “insidious”. He says the BBC could opt out – but he’s fearful of depriving ISPs the extra revenue that would come with their use of the service.

— BBC’s legal and business affairs head Kate Leece in April said execs “are discussing the question of whether the BBC should in fact opt out of Phorm without further delay”. She was advised: “If Amazon are taking this stance on Phorm (opting out), then yes, in the interest of upholding privacy issues, I think we must consider, too.” Noting the EC’s recent criticism of the UK government for green-lighting Phorm, Leece considered opting out “until such time as this is resolved”.

— Archive controller and former controller Tony Ageh was advised to opt out, on the theoretical basis that Phorm would use BBC-related traffic for commercial gain, by tech pundit Bill Thompson, who called Phorm “reprehensible, but not illegal“.

— Future media’s chief technical architect Dirk-Willem van Gulik and digital distribution controller Richard Cooper have discussed technical methods for stopping Phorm from using users’ traffic data. Cooper says Phorm has commercial value for publishers and ISPs but, “from a technical perspective, it’s evil“. Van Gulik said it’s “not an option” to block Phorm without also hiding from search engines, but said Auntie could ask Phorm to be blacklisted. Alternatively, could warn users that Phorm may be monitoring their clicks, he wrote.

Auntie’s worried the public outcry will draw complaints about behavioural targeting BBCWW already carries out, albeit not at the ISP-level. Leece: “A key concern is impact on’s use of (targeting vendor) Audience Science for behavioural targeted advertising as, whilst technology different, public may see as the same.”

The internal debate culminated in BBC Online controller Seetha Kumar’s public blog post this week – a holding statement that plays a waiting game and is leaving a final decision until government ministers respond to the EC’s criticism. Phorm plans to unveil a new consumer product on June 3, has completed a trial with BT (NYSE: BT) and is embarking on a trial with Korean ISP SK. It criticises the “privacy pirates who appear very determined to harm our company”. We have invited comment on the BBC views.

Update: Phorm tells paidContent:UK its upcoming product launch “would also benefit all websites, even non commercial sites like the BBC”: “In doing this, we

20 Responses to “Private Emails Reveal BBC Considering Blocking ‘Insidious’ Phorm”

  1. To CP
    Just one question. With regard to Dr Clayton's report. Which part of that report has been called into question? Because I haven't found anywhere in all the Phorm PR one single valid criticism of any of the facts in Dr Clayton's report.

    It seems that "dish of the day" at the moment is "Clayton was wrong". But when I look at the plate, there's nothing ON it.

    CP you will have to do better than that. And remember – the argument for the BBC is primarily one of commercial exploitation of licence funded BBCUK content. It is a unique website in terms of the particular restrictions placed upon it by the BBC charter. And BBCUK is NOT supposed to permit commercial exploitation of its licence funded UK content. All that will happen when the BBC reject Phorm profiling on their licence funded BBCUK pages, is that the status quo, required by the BBC charter, will be maintained. Where is the problem with that? Who loses? If that creates a PR problem for Phorm, tough cookie. They can develop a model for their BTA that doesn't seek to profile website content without the website's informed prior consent. Then they wouldn't be going anywhere near the BBCUK pages and wouldn't have the problem. After all – other BTA companies manage it.

    I'm not paid for this post either by the way. My ISP has covertly trialled Phorm/Webwise, publicly trialled Phorm/Webwise, lied to the press and to the customers about those trials, and its relationship with Phorm/121Media and now censors all discussion of the matter on its customer forums. Those are facts and a large part of why I am one of the "tiny minority" active on this matter.

  2. In doing this, we’ll also demonstrate how our system sets a higher standard for privacy online than existing interest-based advertising services, including those used by the BBC. We look forward to upcoming meetings with the BBC to show them how consumers, publishers, ISPs and advertisers will all benefit from our technology – one that will give users a clear choice over their participation.

  3. That last Update by Phorm "really needs" explanation, how do they propose to benefit "non commercial operations" (other than not profiling their intellectual & private data).

    At the same time having a covert dig at the BBC's commercial practices "implying" what exactly?!

  4. whydoi

    "‘whydoi’ – again you are making comments without revealing the full context of them. In this case the documents that you refer to had been released and publicly available since 2008"

    what do you mean "again", i have never before made comments on such things, but i can tell you , the person that got the original is a wonderful lady by the name of florence and she is fully aware of all the documents refered to.

    its interesting that you tryed and sideline the very serious actual content of the documents quoted though, very telling to the other readers im sure, a "shilling" for your thoughts perhaps ;).

    .perhaps you will also ignore the contents of this wiki entry that was updated as it happed.

    "European Commission case against UK over Phorm
    European Union communications commissioner Viviane Reding has said that the commission was concerned Phorm was breaching consumer privacy directives, and called on the UK Government to take action to protect consumers' privacy.[35] The European Commission wrote to the UK government on 30 June 2008 to set out the context of the EU's interest in the controversy, and asked detailed questions ahead of possible Commission intervention. It required the UK to respond to the letter one month after it was sent. A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) admitted on 16 August that the UK had not met the deadline.[36]

    On 16 September, BERR refused The Register's request to release the full text of their reply to the European Commission, but released a statement to the effect that the UK authorities consider Phorm's products are capable of being operated in a lawful, appropriate and transparent fashion.[18] Unsatisfied by the response, the European Commission wrote to the UK again on 6 October. Martin Selmayr, spokesman for Reding's Information Society and Media directorate-general said, "For us the matter is not finished. Quite the contrary."[37]

    The UK government responded again in November, but the Commission sent another letter to the government in January 2009. This third letter was sent because the Commission was not satisfied with explanations about implementation of European law in the context of the Phorm case. Selmayr was quoted in The Register as saying, "The European Commission's investigation with regard to the Phorm case is still ongoing,"[38] and he went on to say that the Commission may have to proceed to formal action if the UK authorities do not provide a satisfactory response to the Commission's concerns.

    On 14 April, the European Commission said they have "opened an infringement proceeding against the United Kingdom" regarding ISPs' use of Phorm:

    If the Commission receives no reply, or if the observations presented by the UK are not satisfactory, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion (the second stage in an infringement proceeding). If the UK still fails to fulfil its obligations under EU law after that, the Commission will refer the case to the European Court of Justice.[39]

    That day, in response to a news item by The Register regarding the European Commission's preparations to sue the UK government, Phorm said their technology "is fully compliant with UK legislation and relevant EU directives. This has been confirmed by BERR and by the UK regulatory authorities and we note that there is no suggestion to the contrary in the Commission's statement today."[40] However, BERR denied such confirmation when they responded to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request also made that day:

    An examination of our paper and electronic records has not revealed any such material. To add further clarification for your information, BERR has never provided such a statement to Phorm and has never confirmed to the company “that their technology is fully compliant”.[41]


  5. Interested in privacy

    CP, you seem to be asking for proof from me to back up my claims. Don't you think that is rather cheeky when all you can offer is Phorm PR?

    Let's be honest, Phorms PR gloss is hardly impartial.

    Link me some legitimate independent studies that can convince me that Phorm is a good thing for end users, website owners and ISP's please, then I'll consider linking things for you.

    I said nothing about Google, I have no real interest in them other than to avoid their tracking methods (which is simple to achieve), nor is this topic about them. Discussions about the merits or lack of with regard to Google have nothing to do with Phorm, they are chalk and cheese as the old saying goes.

    I will agree that you are correct on one point though, website owners do have a right to carry advertisements if they choose, from the ad network of their choice, but let's be honest, how often have you seen the number of adverts on a site go down rather than up?

    It is kind of you to link to the Phorm page about how they want people to perceive their system works, but I much prefer Dr Claytons report of how Phorm works, it was done at the invitation of Phorm, the questions raised were answered by Phorm, but the final report wasn't given to the PR types to be glossed over.

    I'd also love to see some figures about the claim of more money being available to small and medium publishers, other ad networks don't have ISP's to pay out of the share of revenue, Phorm will, I wonder where the extra money is really going to come from, considering this looks like it is going to be a hard sell even now. I'd hate to think how hard it will be to promote if a few more major websites tell Phorm to stay away.

  6. 'whydoi' – again you are making comments without revealing the full context of them. In this case the documents that you refer to had been released and publicly available since 2008, it just took the anti-Phorm brigade a while to work it into a slightly bizarre story about 'collusion'. Anyone who has a small understanding of the way Government works knows that civil servants and industry communicate all the time. The only difference is that these communications are publicly available via FOI requests whereas the discussions between anti-Phorm campaigners and certain politicians remain private.

    As for 'Interested in privacy' I am slightly confused/concerned, you seem to have forumulated an argument for there being an ad-network monopoly (well I guess Google is on its way there) or there being no adverts on the internet at all which is frankly, rather silly. Website owners have every right to host adverts and seek ways to monetize their content. If they choose to use their ad space inventory for OIX served ads then that is their choice.

    As for your other point that "more ad-networks = more adverts" I note that you reference no studies, expert opinions nor do you claim personal professional knowledge of the online ad sphere that makes this claim credible. I think you will find that most online publishers understand that their ad space has a certain value, if they over populate their pages with adverts then that value (per unit) will fall, similarly there exists a point at which users will be turned away if they find it difficult to access content (witness the animosity towards pop ups) and again find that the value of their ad space falls as fewer users access their content.

    Phorm's ad serving, based as it would be on browsing behaviour rather than just sheer volume of users accessing certain webpages means that small and medium publishers can start generating real revenue from their content and advertisers can stop spending their budgets in the dark and start serving ads to those who may be genuinely interested in product A or B.

    The following link gives a pretty useful and easy to digest explanation of how Phorm works;

  7. whydoi

    "Anyone who read coverage of the last Westminster eForum would know that Phorm’s SVP for Technology (Marc Burgess) made clear that users would have to provide consent to use the service."

    ill counter your lowly Phorm UK SVP, with Phorms US far higher COO and long time associate of Kent Ertugrul…

    “As you browse, we’re able to categorize all of your Internet actions,” said Virasb Vahidi, the chief operating officer of Phorm. “We actually can see the entire Internet.”

    "The UK Home Office has indicated that Phorm's proposed service is only legal if users give explicit consent.[32]

    The Office itself became a subject of controversy when emails between it and Phorm were released. The emails showed that the company edited a draft legal interpretation by the Office, and that an official responded "If we agree this, and this becomes our position do you think your clients and their prospective partners will be comforted."

    Liberal Democrat spokeswoman on Home Affairs, Baroness Sue Miller, considered it an act of collusion:

    "The fact the Home Office asks the very company they are worried is actually falling outside the laws whether the draft interpretation of the law is correct is completely bizarre."[33]"

  8. whydoi

    CP it appears it is infact you and others like you that are likely to "confuse mole hills with mountains" it seems, given the vast amounts of real and proven FACTS that exist regarding these matters, to any informed end users willing to do a little research work..

    robert, have you been in contact with, and talked to such people as [b] Mr Hanff of Privacy International [/b]?

    "Privacy International:we are pleased to announce a new addition to our team.

    [b] Alexander Hanff [/b], a social scientist and technologist who has led a long campaign against the use of Deep Packet Inspection for behavioural advertising models in the UK, [b] will be taking the lead for Privacy International on these issues [/b] "

    its not hard, you can chat with him anytime on the open and https secure NoDPI website,

  9. whydoi

    just a recap of the way the Phorm cookies work care of

    April 7, 2008, 4:04 pm
    Phorms All-Seeing Parasite Cookie
    By Saul Hansell
    Phorm gets around these restrictions by piggybacking its cookies on the backs of those left by other sites.

    Phorm installs equipment at the I.S.P. that intercepts the users browser when it visits a Web site for the first time.

    It redirects the browser to Phorms own site. That way it can place and read its own cookie with a Phorm identification number.

    It then appends this number onto the cookie of the other site, say Google or Yahoo. It does this without the permission of that other site.

    The point of this odd exercise is to be able to monitor users but not slow them down. Once a users cookie from a given site, say Yahoo, is marked with Phorms own number, the next time the user visits Yahoo, Phorm can record that information without having to read its own cookie.

    (By the way, Phorm strips this extra number off of the cookie before it is sent back to Yahoo, so [b]sites dont know their cookies are being used this way.[/b] )

    If you follow all this, it raises troubling and heretofore unexplored questions about who has rights to do what with cookies. Is it acceptable for Phorm to ride, almost like a parasite, on a cookie set by another company without its permission?

    Kent Ertugrul, Phorms chief executive, says it is acceptable, because the users are notified about Phorms system and given the opportunity to opt out, and it is their computer on which these cookies reside.

    There are a couple of other interesting aspects of Phorms system that Ill get to in another post.

  10. banhammer

    To say or imply that Phorm/Webwise is nothing more that a way of displaying targetted ads is to delude yourself.

    I'd like to think that you are more 'switched on' that that, and so I'll take this opportunity to remind you that Phorm/Webwise employs a technology called 'Deep Packet Inspection' to examine the minutiae of the data stream from my PC as it passes through my ISP Network to the website that I wish to transact with.

    in other words, you are inspecting EVERYTHING I, my wife, and my children using my ISP connection do.

    I grant you that 'you say' that you will discard all but the 'keywords' and urls that you need to assign me to a 'channel', but that's only after you've had a good look at everything first.

    I'll also grant you, that you say that you'll discard all of this once I've been assigned to a 'channel', but that's actually disingenuous too isn't it, as assigning me to one or more channels is just another way of holding data against the U(ser)ID that you've already allocated to me and placed in a 'cookie' on my PC.

    To quote from the Phorm/Webwise example, you can delete my search string 'Paris Hotel'because you've already assigned me to the 'Paris Hotel' channel, yes?

  11. Interested in privacy

    CP, why do you actually believe that yet another ad network won't lead to more adverts?

    Do you really believe that the sites who currently display adverts are going to give up their current ones and replace them with OIX ones?

    Or is it more likely that they will have them as well?

    More ad networks = more adverts, until proven otherwise.

    There you go, a nice honest answer, it's just a shame phorm aren't that easy to get honest answers from.

  12. 'Interested in privacy' – as someone who claims to know a great deal about this, surely you might have the decency to at least admit that Phorm's system doesn't result in "more adverts" being "shoved" in anyone's face. If you turn the system on all that will happen is that the adverts you're shown will relate to whatever you are browsing (minus certain sensitive topics such as tobacco, firearms, adult themes etc), simply as that really. If you're going to engage, at least do it honestly.

  13. Interested in privacy

    CP, you seem to have bought the official phorm line, so go look at Dr Claytons report and educate yourself.

    You will still be profiled (although phorm promise to ignore you) just not served adverts with the way the technology is setup at the moment.

    Phorm have not demonstrated a network opt-in / opt-out solution as yet, so the report by Dr Clayton stands, you merely opt out of adverts the way things are.

    It still doesn't mean the BBC really need to tell phorm no though, telling them no shouldn't really be necessary, phorm and their partners should respect copyright and seek permission after all. (And if copyright isn't really applicable to webpages as phorm and their partners claim, go ask phorm and their partners why they all expect the copyright of their own pages to be respected.)

    If the system was truly opt-in, the user would need to take a positive step to say "oh yes please, I really want to have more adverts shoved in my face, and want to help take revenue from any website who won't pay phorm to be part of the OIX and display their wonderful adverts."

    Phorm haven't changed since their days of spyware, adware, and rootkits, they've just found a new way to gather the data, and this new venue is harder for the user to avoid. A user now has to change ISP if they want to be rid of the leech who is making a note of their every interest to try and sell him things he was looking at 3 days ago, before they had the minor inconvenience of formatting their hard disk and starting over.

  14. whydoi

    it appers the "Stop Phoul Play" website are indeed running "very astute smear campaign" and changing the so called facts as time passes, and informed end users are bringing their smears to light for instance see below:

    its appears these officially released BT pictures outlining the dataflow of Phorm keep going missing, so grab them while you can ;)

    but upon inspectionm these make it very clear that without exception , all your dataflow belongs to Phorm and their ISP partners ;)

    lets be clear here, at no point can you stop any of your ISP data going through the Deep Packet Interception/Inspection Layer7 kit, regardless of any cookie "Opt in" or"Opt Out".

    a clear cut "wiretap" as seen in these official BT diagrams.

    and also the cookie point being, they clearly did ,do ,and will in the future need to place a cookie on your harddrive without your consent, and look for it every single session….

    i expect this is exactly the same way the current "Korea Telecom" is dong it now, perhaps someone in the BBC better inform the users there reading these BBC server pages news etc…

  15. The anti-Phorm lot are still content to confuse mole hills with mountains it would seem. Anyone who read coverage of the last Westminster eForum would know that Phorm's SVP for Technology (Marc Burgess) made clear that users would have to provide consent to use the service. That being the case the BBC have nothing to worry about because users won't be profiled (anonymously) without having given their permission.

    Interesting point from 'brianlj' on the prospect of data accumulation due to "mission creep;" as far as anyone knows based on what Phorm have announced and on what independent experts have said, the Phorm system is unique at the present time in that it doesn't store users' browsing histories, which is more than could be said for a certain other company

  16. Interested in privacy


    You raise some interesting points, so I thought I would add my perspective…

    You cannot speak for Amazon, in the same way that I can't, if they say it's a privacy issue, we have to take them at their word, just like so many people expect us to take the word of phorm (previously known as 121Media, peddlers of the apropos rootkit which was a wrapper for their adware contextplus).

    Do I trust Amazon? On the balance of things, I'd have to say yes, they have never installed rootkits on to peoples PC's as far as I am aware, and openly admit to profiling their customers.

    Do I trust phorm? On the balance of things I would have to say no, they have a history of deceptive business tactics and a lack of respect for end users, they ran two trials with my previous ISP while denying doing so, and failed to register with the ICO while these trials were conducted, and then there is the previously mentioned rootkits.

    As for logging out of the Amazon account issue you raise, actually I find it very easy, I just clear cookies at the end of my browsing session.

    You claim that the privacy issue is a non starter, perhaps you'd like to expand on that for everybody to understand your reasoning a bit better; having read the report by Dr Richard Clayton who got his information first hand from phorm, I would contend that the privacy issues are very real.
    I fail to see how profiling almost all of somebodies browsing habits can be privacy enhancing. (I say almost all, because ssl sessions are ignored, and supposedly webmail too, although I have doubts that they can exclude all webmail.)

    You ask "If consumers willingly sign-up knowing the consequences, maybe for free bandwidth, un-throttled connection, free hardware etc. , where’s the problem?"
    Well firstly, phorm will still have no consent from the websites they are abusing the copyright of (copyright requires that they seek a licence before using any content, and they can't rely on assumed consent of the rights holders, nor is an opt-out system for websites legally binding, they have to seek consent, or face legal action) so that is one major problem straight away.

    Your claims of an astute smear campaign, you may be correct, there were rumours that phorm were smearing their opponents to political types before, but I have no proof of that, but it sounds believable.
    Phorm spent plenty of time trying to get political types onboard with their system early on, while trying to hide what they were doing from end users, that hardly seems to be the actions of a trustworthy company.

    As for 10 campaigners, I presume you have facts to back that up? I would say it is likely to be a far greater number, and as this whole affair is dragged out into the light, I would expect to see more people become involved as time goes on.

    With regard to "There’s a poll being conducted just now on TalkTalk’s members forum – 14 days and only 101 votes yes or no (4 for 97 agin) to Phorm out of 3000+ views and millions of subscribers, no-one cares outside the tinfoil hat brigade."

    I had a look on the talktalk members forums to satisfy my curiosity, and see how accurate your statement was.

    On those forums, out of the "millions of subscribers" only a small percent actually seem to use the forums at all. The forum statistics at the bottom of the page show Topics: 19,944, Posts: 256,953, Members: 12,698, Active Members: 2,223, so once you ignore the shock value of the "millions of subscribers" a better indication of how people feel can be had by looking at your numbers again.

    Out of 12,698 members, only 2223 of them are active members, so your millions no longer mean that much.

    97 out of 101 who voted are opposed to phorm, and in that thread, it is claimed that 2 of the votes in favour were made by staff members.

    As for the postcount and total views, well, I clocked up 3 hits on the number of views today by revisiting the thread, so again, not a good indicator.

    To give a comparison, I also looked at other parts of their forum, in the Christmas competition thread they had, there was a total of 41 votes, 171 replies and 4209 views, so the votes against phorm are certainly worth paying attention to it would seem.

    You claim "Understand, there is very little extant factual information out there as to how Phorm works, how it will be implemented other than that spread by the die-hard antis."

    That is true to a great extent, because phorm refuse to actually engage properly, they will answer favourable questions, but they answer most questions with PR statements, that are vaguely worded and have lots of space to allow backtracking of what they said. The most factual information in the public domain is the report by Dr Clayton, and that doesn't paint a pretty picture.

    I don't care if you were paid by phorm or not, but just so we are on an even footing, I wasn't paid to make this post either, by any individual or organisation. Ultimately though, I'd be much happier to allow the anti-phorm types speak for me than you.

    They do seem to be genuinely interested in helping to maintain what little privacy is left on the internet, it seems to me, that you would be content to sell it to phorm on behalf of everybody else.

  17. brianlj

    As I see it, the main difference between Phorm and other current methods of monetising we lowly users is that Phorm has equipment in the ISP through which all your traffic passes regardless of whether or not you have signed up to accepting ads from Phorms partners.

    The potential for abuse or mission creep (intended or accidental) is enormous. That data is HUGELY valuable.

    The fact that Phorm are a company with their roots in malware production is just the icing on the cake.

    If my ISP (VirginMedia) does eventually partner with Phorm, I will be leaving them for one that doesn't. It will cost me money, but that's not the point.

    Any website that partners with Phorm, I will abandon. In the Beeb's case it will be with much regret, but make no mistake, I will not knowingly use any of Phorm's partners.

    Advertising-driven Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is a step too far,

  18. JohnH

    The BBC have a contract with Audience Science to allow them to profile overseas visitors. This contract does NOT allow them to profile UK visitors.

    1) Why should Audience Science pay the BBC for access to information which companies using DPI on overseas visitors could get for free? Why should the BBC allow companies using DPI on UK visitors to profile them, when they don't allow Audience Science to do so?

    (Oh, and I am not being paid by, or have any interest in, any of Phorm's competitors)

  19. Zoot Cadillac

    @Long John Silver.

    If I may address some of your comments?
    I'll dismiss the first two as conjecture.
    The third? Sure Amazon or any company seeking to make financial gains from it's online visitors would not want a 3rd party scraping their data so that those same visitors might be served advertisements elsewhere based upon information gained whilst those people were at Amazon's site.
    That's a no brainer.
    The privacy argument a non-starter? You state that nobody outside of Phorm knows how it will be implemented? Well I thought that everyone who had read Phorm's releases on this issue coupled with Dr Richard Clayton's analysis of the system would certainly have a very good idea how they plan to implement this and if they go under the model that Phorm themselves have currently made public then the fact remains that there is illegal interception of data between 2 parties without gaining explicit and previous consent from both of those parties. Who cares about privacy? Let's be sure that it's legal for a company to intercept a website's communication, make and store copies of their content so that they can serve competitor's advertisements to their visitors.

    I don't think anyone is out to smear Phorm. Phorm themselves have shown to be untrustworthy and unwilling to engage with the very people they seek to monetise to see a way in which they may be accepted ( they would have been happy to never engage with the public and indeed not have the public be aware of them ). Your assumption that consumers will be receiving free or improved broadband services as a result of Phorm is totally unfounded. Not one ISP has ever made a statement to this end and neither has my ISP responded that this would ever be the case were they to adopt Phorm. This is just another one of those carrots dangled by Phorm when they need to convince the public that their system can have any merit for them.
    There is no need for anti-phishing. There is no need for cheap incentives. I have a contract with my ISP to connect me to the web and they enjoy common carrier status which holds them totally exempt from responsibility for my actions online. The moment they decide to be a content deliverer that will all change.

    There will be more public outcry. There are more people becoming aware of this now that the mainstream media has taken it up and people will find ways to refuse to be used for the profit of 3rd party leeches such as Phorm
    Seriously, who needs them? If my ISP wants to monetise my data whilst giving me some benefit for that ten let tem engage with me and see how that goes. Why get into bed with the people behind one of the most insidious spyware rootkits of the last decade?
    There is plenty of factual information out there as to how Phorm 'claim' their system works and just because you have not read that it is unfair of you to assume that it does not exist.

    I don't claim to speak for anyone other than myself and I've certainly not been paid by Kents 'arch competitor'. I'm Joe Public and I'm tired of 3rd party advertisers thinking that they have any right to make money from my habits without me explicitly knocking on their door and asking to be a part of it.
    That's what the law, the EU and the ICO require. Opt-In.
    Until there is opt-in on both ends of the communication it does not matter if there are 2 or 2 million people against it. It's not happening.

  20. Long John Silver

    The commercial gain argument is entirely feasible.
    The Privacy argument as purported by Amazon is not.
    Purely a commercial decision; Amazon would not want users being presented with ads giving consumers the opportunity of purchasing items cheaper elsewhere. After all, Amazon already profile their own customers and how easy is it to log-out of your Amazon account? Not very.
    The Privacy argument is a non-starter anyway, no-one knows how Phorm will be implemented outside of Phorm and partner ISPs.
    If consumers willingly sign-up knowing the consequences, maybe for free bandwidth, un-throttled connection, free hardware etc. , where's the problem?
    Seems like lots of people have been hoodwinked by a very astute smear campaign, orchestrated at the beginning by a very small band of Privacy Zealots, into thinking that this is a BIG issue.
    The Public Outcry will come from the very same small band who have been agitating for over a year – there's about 10 of them. There is no wide-spread concern, I could name them all.
    There's a poll being conducted just now on TalkTalk's members forum – 14 days and only 101 votes yes or no (4 for 97 agin) to Phorm out of 3000+ views and millions of subscribers, no-one cares outside the tinfoil hat brigade.
    Understand, there is very little extant factual information out there as to how Phorm works, how it will be implemented other than that spread by the die-hard antis.
    I have not been paid by Phorm or any other organisation for this post, just sick and tired of the anti-phorm brigade's assumption that they speak for everyone.