TalkTalk have taken the honourable decision to only pass on your browsing habits to Phorm if you opt in to their system. Rather than using the previously mentioned method of opting out based on a cookie on your computer that identifies you as an opt-out, TalkTalk will implement a different system that will mean customers will have no contact at all with any aspect of the Phorm service unless they specifically opt-in.
This is a definite step in the right direction to ensure users aren't accidentilly included if they manage to clear their cookies for example, and we hope that Virgin Media and BT consider this as the best way forward and ensure that their systems are also opt-in. This then leaves the onus on Phorm to ensure that the system is compelling enough to attract customers, but also means that the ISP will get less revenue from it, which may be a discouragment to make it opt-in, particularly with the figures (an estimated £85million to BT) that Phorm will bring in.
Our friends over at The Register who have been following this story extensively have interviewed CEO Kent Ertegrul of Phorm to get some more information about exactly how the system works. Although long, it is worth a read if you are concerned over privacy issues that may arise from the sharing of what you browse with a third party.
See the following articles for more on this issue: