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City of London Police looks into Phorm
Saturday 06 September 2008 12:51:47 by Andrew Ferguson

In the week that Phorm has admitted that its next trial of its advertising system is taking longer than expected to start, the City of London police has been meeting with BT to ask questions about the earlier more covert trials that took place.

The future of Phorm would appear to hinge very much on the success of the next BT trial and deals with Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse who have reconfirmed their commitment to the trial the Phorm service according to the Financial Times. The Register takes it's usual irreverent view on matters with a news item titled 'Phorm: Our business is fine honest'.

The current economic downturn may possibly do more harm to Phorm than the various ongoing investigations as to what the service really does, and what it can see of users data and what potential may exist for abuse. If the trials do go ahead and the product rolls out, it will be interesting to see the reaction of companies who want to advertise their products. Going on the level of public opposition to advertising your product via the Phorm agency there may be a reluctance to be associated with something people view as an invasion of privacy.

Comments

Posted by LCake over 8 years ago
The Register have an item on this:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/05/bt_phorm_police_meeting/
Posted by stevie2001 over 8 years ago
Its an interesting development & TY for the link.

Could the Police then investigate the ISPs for monitoring their Customers use of the Internet?

....as part of a probe into the covert wiretapping and profiling of the internet use of tens of thousands of BT customers during tests of Phorm's adware system.

The fact that most ISPs monitor all of our use of the Internet is nothing different.

Surely the same rules apply.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
depends what you define monitoring as? I dont recall isps currently inspect all non http web traffic, even things like ellocayas tend to only inspect the headers not the full data. Phorm is indeed very different in a few ways, it modifies copyrighted pages without permission, it can modify cookies, and it inspects all port 80 traffic even when the person opts out. The opting out simply stops pages been modified but doesnt stop the inspection.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
I meant all non ssl http traffic.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"even things like ellocayas tend to only inspect the headers not the full data"

That's what I thought , but some people are claiming otherwise (eg in the wilder fringes of the "net neutrality" discussions). Part of the problem seems to be that DPI is ambiguous; Ellacoya's DPI initially identified source, destination, protocol/app, etc without knowing the actual *content* of your traffic.

More recently, Phorm (and NebuAd, RIP?) are doing their own DPI which clearly can examine the *content* of http (and in principle other) traffic.
Posted by LCake over 8 years ago
@stevie2001
What phorm / webwise does is very different to normal ISP monitoring. These two diagrams show what is going on:

Without phorm
http://lh3.ggpht.com/pathogenrush/SCDG9jvwkCI/AAAAAAAAAF8/p1yX6yA2w2w/s800/request.png

With phorm
http://lh4.ggpht.com/pathogenrush/SCDCYzvwkAI/AAAAAAAAAFo/YD3ld1Kr-0w/s800/webwise-simplified.png

Or if you want a technical paper:
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/080518-phorm.pdf

Posted by LCake over 8 years ago
Or if you want a legal viewpoint:
http://www.fipr.org/080423phormlegal.pdf

Or if you want an "insider view" a BT report on one of the secret trails:
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/British_Telecom_Phorm_PageSense_External_Validation_report
Posted by crusader666 over 8 years ago
Headline looks good in print but it's only one DC investigating having been badgered into it by glory hunting tin foil hat wearing hippies.
End of nowt will happen as it's "not in the public interest" to prosecute, in fact not in the public interest full stop.
Posted by LCake over 8 years ago
crusader666 - Nice example of ad-hominem in your first sentence.

Perhaps you can explain, do you have some special qualifications as an arbiter of "the public interest"?
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
How ironic for a police force which advocates a snoop society and wants greater powers over individuals who have nothing to hide.
Posted by harryhound1 over 8 years ago
Isn't Google's new Chrome browser meant to do something similar?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
no it doesnt, for the 2nd time, phorm is not the same as google tracking/advertising, works in a different way and is far more intrusive.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"the City of London police has been meeting with BT to ask questions about the earlier more covert trials that took place."

You can just imagine it now, plod tha ate all the pies visits BT to wash them down with a nice cup of tea.... Takes out note pad and proudly asks in a genious like fashion..... So tell me how this interent thing works?
Im sure BT are quaking in their boots :rolleyes:
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
Harry, as chrysalis hinted - Phorm's plan relies on kit running inside the ISP, this kit can monitor your traffic regardless of browser. Phorm's records of your browsing aren't stored in your browser, they're stored on Phorm's equipment (which might eventually be passed on anywhere in the world, once they've extracted the useful bits inside your ISP).

It doesn't make any difference which browser you use, it doesn't make any difference which cookies you accept or decline, they're still recording the content of Internet pages you access.
Posted by Duratus over 8 years ago
Internet mail should be regarded the same as posted mail, private and confidential, no one should be able to look at or even record your transmitions not even your internet provider, they provide a service, not a snooping service, if all your'e snail mail was intercepted and examined it would soon cause an outcry so why accept that your E-Mails should be any different.
Posted by Duratus over 8 years ago
An E-Mail sent to a specific address should be for that recepiant only not for any one else.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Harry, LOOK AT THE LINKS by LCake - you dont even need good vision to see the massive diffs...

Please note that ALL net & email is as visible as a postcard is!!! the ONLY way to get privacy is to encrypt...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Even if you do not care for privacy, consider how much time is lost while it goes through four or five servers, instead of just one... and even worse if one breaks or slows down...
Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
" Duratus 9 minutes ago
An E-Mail sent to a specific address should be for that recepiant only not for any one else. "

well the UK government have a different view, as you are a terrorist, as is every other UK resident.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/407881.html

Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
sorry that was the wrong link, but just as important!

read these!

UK.gov to spend hundreds of millions on snooping silo
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/19/ukgov_uber_database/

UK Gov't Proposes Massive Internet Snooping, Data Storage
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/13/2037219&from=rss

Child protection' database slammed as plod data mine
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/26/contactpoint_police/

TAKING LIBERTIES (Video)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3351275215846218544
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
meanwhile the government continues to claim its broke.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
TAKING LIBERTIES - hm, yes... 2 days after the iraq war started... I think you need to go there, and discover what the OPPOSITE of our 'freedom and democracy' is...

I'll bet you would not be doing it if the war was in THIS country!!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
the government is the biggest, oldest company about... BT is actually lightning fast by comparison!! - if you have ever tried to make a claim, you will know what I mean..

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
pigfist: It is not the fault of the police that they *have* to keep away some idiots that want to add to the 20,000 already there..

And do note that a similar demo in iraq would usually result in death... so count your blessings!!

And those that thought 'blair should go' are now finding gordon brown is not the PM they hoped for...:) :)
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
just in case you wonder- have loom, at how good the 'net is in raq!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1959481.stm

go on, click and find out!!!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
now YOU look for more!!

http://www.google.com/search?q=internet+in+iraq&sourceid=opera&num=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
"just in case you wonder- have loom, at how good the 'net is in raq!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1959481.stm

go on, click and find out!!! "

that was part of the rhetoric to outrage the British populous into supporting an illegal war.

you think the BBC is unbiased, why then was this story never ran.

https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/407790.html
US Threatens UK On Gitmo Case Binyam Mohamed

or
http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/04/21/quiet-pact-allows-spy-uk
Secret pact allows the US to spy on UK motorists
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
and I can tell you have not even looked...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
It looks like you have no clue, another one for my ignore list.....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Phorm has nothing to worry about....
You have the right to remain silent
(err it is silent thats the whole point)
Anything you do say can and will be blah blah
(Err again they dont say anything they hush it up)
Thank god the old bill are hot on the case lol
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