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Phorm system must be opt-in in the UK
Thursday 10 April 2008 12:40:11 by Andrew Ferguson

BBC News has some news that may well please critics of the advertising system Phorm is wanting to provide to a number of broadband providers in the UK. The Information Commissioner Office (ICO) has announced that the ad-targeting system must be an opt-in system, rather than the opt-out that the implementation discussed most often has been. The full statement from the ICO can be read on its website - "Phorm - Webwise and Open Internet Exchange"

The decision is based on European law so should apply to all broadband providers in Europe. The ICO has been having discussions with Phorm and has decided that the company does not break laws regarding 'personal data' i.e. information which can be used to identify a living individual.

On the issue of the data interception which some are saying the system is, the ICO has defaulted to the Home Office for them to make a decision under the relevant laws. The Home Office has previously released a memo stating that RIPA should not stop Phorm.

The requirement to opt into the system has been pre-empted by TalkTalk and the latest BT Retail trial of the system is set to be opt-in.

Comments

Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
so Virgin now denying they were going to implement, Talk talk going opt-in, and BT under investigation for previous secret trails, and the ICO saying it must be opt-in, it's going well then.

thats even before some bright spark confirms wether the opt out method is permanent and fail-safe...and wether it merely opts out of processing or the collection of your data.

Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
My understanding was that BT were trying to sneak this on to PC's under the guise of it being an anti-phishing tool using scare tactics.

http://webwise.bt.com/webwise/index.html

To me this isn't opt-in at all as few will understand the real purpose of this malware they're signing up to.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
LOL and so the hilarity continues, yep im sure honest organisations like BT and Talk Talk that do nothing but their best for the customer wont just implement it any way whether you like it or not... I really must thank the staff for the laughter these phorm stories have given me, has some person in the office made a bet with another staff member that they cant find a new phorm story atleast once a week or what?? I also thought that BT were looking for 10,000 guinea pigs to trial it more first, rather than it being opt-in for all... either way who cares anymore lol
Posted by Pigmaster over 9 years ago
You just have to wonder what information Phorm talked with the ICO about. There was no demo so in reality what system did Phorm present. One which is completely different to what was going to be implemented, then when it goes in hey presto the old data capturing one is back
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
If Royal Mail were being paid by a dodgy 3rd party, in return for which RM allowed the 3rd party to read your mail, to analyse and record details of all unencrypted mail your home is receiving, would that be funny? If that "service" was marketed to you as an "enhanced privacy" tool, while being sold to the 3rd party's customers as "extra-valuable extra-targeted ads"?

That's Phorm's game. Phorget Cookies, adblockers, etc, they can't prevent Phorm's interception and recording.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/04/08/cambridge_expert_use_safari_to_evade_phorm.html#comment-1037288
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
That royal mail comparisson is stupid, if it were normal mail they would have your banking info and other important private information.

The phorm system wont collect anything like that, and if it does your banks website has more security holes than a tea strainer.

LOL again at the paranoia
Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
Do you actually read what your write?
Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
Obviously i dont ;)
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
People who are not technically aware making decisions on the legality of phorm not good :(
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
"if it were normal mail they would have your banking info and other important private information."

At last, perhaps it's sinking in. Phorm's systems have access to any of your web traffic that isn't encrypted (which *hopefully* won't include your banking info, but may well include email), regardless of opt-in/opt-out.

"The phorm system wont collect anything like that"

Says who? Ever heard the expression "trust but verify"? Who's verifying that Phorm are being honest, and that their systems aren't readily open to abuse by dishonest people?
Posted by Tacitus over 9 years ago
@c_j: You might also have added that once this becomes accepted as legal and normal, pretty much every ISP is up for grabs. Whilst Phorm might be the current incarnation, there are no doubt others waiting in the wings.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
the phorm system can potentially collect anything proxied, the reports on theregister show people routed via phorm have found posts modified on forum sites they participate it seems phorm was modifying their posts. Personally I think phorm is a tool that can be potentially used for things like web censorship in coming years and as such is why the government is silently allowing it.
Posted by Tacitus over 9 years ago
Chrysalis: "Personally I think phorm is a tool that can be potentially used for things like web censorship in coming years and as such is why the government is silently allowing it."

My sentiments entirely, although I always thought they would find a way of allowing it through since someone is going to make money. The fact that it is effectively spying on its citizens is no problem to this lot, although I doubt another government would be any better.
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