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BT bans discussion of Phorm on its BT Beta forums
Wednesday 19 November 2008 13:50:54 by Andrew Ferguson

The Register has revealed that BT Retail has had enough of the on going discussion of Phorm and their implementation of it called Webwise. A trial for the product is currently underway and recently hit the news when a Plusnet customer using a trial BT Retail network was presented with the WebWise trial opt-in.

"Our broadband support forums are designed to be a place where customers can discuss technical support issues and offer solutions. To ensure that the forums remain constructive we're tightening up our moderation policies and will be deleting threads that don't provide constructive support. For example, we have removed a number of forum discussions about BT Webwise. If you do want to find out more about BT Webwise, we provide lots of information and the facility to contact us at www.bt.com/webwise. We hope you'll continue to enjoy being part of the support community. "

Statement from BT Beta forums

It would seem BT is keen to try and keep their forum on track and focused on technical support, but from those observing the trial it may give the impression of a big company trying to silence a few customers who while they may be tenacious over the subject are simply trying to make themselves heard.

Hopefully BT will not distance itself from questions people now submit from the Webwise site itself. If it does then they face the danger that mis-information may increase. A common example is that Phorm replaces adverts on all websites you visit, whereas in reality it only replaces them on sites that are signed up to the Phorm advert exchange (OIX).

Whether this will turn into an own goal, depends a lot on what BT Retail does next. In the current economic climate the pressures to gain extra income from systems like Phorm will be increasing, but there will be a point at which the silent majority decide that some processes are too much of an invasion of privacy and rebel.

Comments

Posted by jrawle over 8 years ago
"...discuss technical support issues and offer solutions." Like, "How do I avoid this invasive ad system?" Answer: "Switch to a different provider." This is clearly a move to keep customers in the dark.
Posted by sealion over 8 years ago
I already left BT, and the PHORM saga played a large part in my decision. Basically the way BT have handled this totally destroyed my trust in them - I think that they've definately shot themselves in the foot over this.
Posted by keith_thfc over 8 years ago
"Hopefully BT will not distance itself from questions people now submit from the Webwise site itself"

The webwise site only exists as a misdirection tool to fool people into accepting Phorm through the back door.

Frankly I'm surprised BT have any customers left if they show such utter contempt for its users. I'm sure many have since decided their money is better being spent at an ISP that concentrates on providing them with a decent internet connection rather than spyware.




Posted by JPickering over 8 years ago
Not supprised about any lack of confidence in BT, they have no regard for their employees or customers the company is run by a bunch of managers disapearing up the own backside, so what do you expect.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
another own goal by BT.
Posted by ian9outof10 over 8 years ago
This is just ludicrous. Does BT really think it can have such contempt for its customers and not lose money?

I wish the toothless fools at OFCOM would do something about this. And quickly.
Posted by crusader666 over 8 years ago
Of course it's the second time the same band of anti-phorms have been banned from a forum - http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34622206-post14212.html - they didn't bother running off to El Reg with that one did they?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
They should create a dedicated forum or sub-section for it then. I can absolutely see their point (I've been a forum mod. myself several times) but I can also see the end-user view point.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
HAHA typical BT silence free speech as it could cost them money
Posted by revrob over 8 years ago
AndrueCsaid "They should create a dedicated forum or sub-section for it then."

They did - it got locked three times and a new one started, the current dedicated discussion thread was actually STARTED by BT for discussion of the Webwise trial. It is THIS thread that has been deleted by BT - the thread they started themselves and then never contributed to (except where moderators edited posts they didn't like).
Posted by revrob over 8 years ago
crusader666 wrote:
Of course it's the second time the same band of anti-phorms have been banned from a forum - http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34622206-post14212.html

Reply.
The Cableforum thread was not run by the ISP trialling Webwiseso the closure of their thread simply wasn't a story. And just to correct you - Cableforum have not and never did "ban" discussion of Webwise or phorm - I posted on C/F an hour ago on the subject of BT Webwise. It's only BT who have banned the TOPIC.
Posted by carrot63 over 8 years ago
"I wish the toothless fools at OFCOM would do something about this. And quickly."

Theres little legitimate opportunity to complain to Ofcom about phorm - their remit is too pathetic. However perhaps BT effectively withdrawing support for an element of their service that causes users concern might be better grounds for a complaint. Worth a go.
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
"will be deleting threads that don't provide constructive support."

So basically they will delete anything that neither reflects well on the company nor shows them in a good light.

Plenty of companies deploy this tactic in order to keep their users in check. I seem to remember a few of the dodgier service providers also did it, in days gone by.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
crusader666 - The *thread* was closed and a few trolls got a slap.

In any case, I look foward to sueing BT if they try and push Phorm at me (i.e. my data goes anywhere near phorm's servers) - two-way consent is required in many cases, which is basically impossible for them to get.

CARPETBURN - Ah, another topic. LLU revenue stream evasion, BT should be compensated for this by the LLU companies...
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
mishminx others may have done it but so what? doesnt make this right. BT is supposedbly a big successful company that is a pride and joy of this country, the sad thing is some people still believe that.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"In any case, I look foward to sueing BT if they try and push Phorm at me (i.e. my data goes anywhere near phorm's servers) - two-way consent is required in many cases, which is basically impossible for them to get."

LMAO good luck with that, obviously not read your terms and conditions recently LOL
quote"CARPETBURN - Ah, another topic. LLU revenue stream evasion, BT should be compensated for this by the LLU companies..."
I have no clue what you are on about now, seriously "stream evasion" whats that??
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"BT is supposedbly a big successful company that is a pride and joy of this country"

My lord that must have been one heck of a bad nightmare you had chrysalis ;)

Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Carpet - Have you read UK consumer law recently? That trumps T&C's. Also note I did not say which ISP I waa on.

And if any revenue opportunities exist for BT which they can't apply to LLU lines, then the LLU providers should compensate BT for it in proportion to the space they leech.
Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
It's great how the government back BT's spying of everyone's internet by allowing BT to hide all the information on the web wise sign up page page and allowing BT to sell this product to the masses as a free phishing security tool.

BT are scum and everyone needs to stare phoning them up, and demanding their MAC codes then migrate to another internet service provider.
Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
There is a facebook group fighting the government backed fascist behaviour to sell us all out to business.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=9216870661

and a downing street petition:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ispphorm/

you can always write to your MP and MEP tell everyone you know ect but the best way is to protests with your wallet by moving your telephone provider as well as your isp.

Privacy is valuable don't allow our government or big business to sell us out to advertisers.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"And if any revenue opportunities exist for BT which they can't apply to LLU lines, then the LLU providers should compensate BT for it in proportion to the space they leech."

Huh so you want a organisation that already pays for their own equipment and pays BT to place it in their sheds and makes them a profit to pay them more as BT have big dreams but little clue? Well i guess that explains that. Every time you post now its hillarious.... Here ill help with a song... I got fast LLU dodah dodah I got fast LLU and you are jealous yaaaahaaaahaaa yaaaayyy
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
And leeches off BT to place it, you mean, by legislative fiat which should be revoked. You got a dream which won't last. When BT gets a proper USO they'll kick the LLU leeches out.

PS, you can't sing
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
How do LLU services leech off BT?.... Do you think they have criminal masterminds that run into the exchanges at night and siphon bandwidth from BT equipment?
As to BT getting a proper USO thats funny in itself they cant even agree different parts of BT are the same group.
Oh and i know i cant sing... It wasnt meant to bring pleasure to your ears.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Ah Carpet, you need to look up why groups keep their wings seperate (hint: anti-trust). Normal business practices.

And LLU services are taking up space and power which BT could be using for their own services. LLU wants in, they can build their own exchanges.
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