"Phorm" - will interest you UKers! - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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    Drills baby. Da Mighty Camel's Avatar
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    "Phorm" - will interest you UKers!

    In solidarity with my UK buds I'm helping spreading the word of this. You can help too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Karhedron
    Hi all,

    For those of you who haven't heard about Phorm, this may prove interesting.

    Simply put, three of the UK's largest ISPs (Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk) have decided to sell your private browsing history to an advertising broker. Yes, the entire list of every web page you visit gets sent to Phorm (the broker) in real time, as you click, so they can send you 'targeted advertising'. Naturally the ISP's are not too keen on telling their users this, they'd much rather feed us all platitudes about how it'll help combat phishing and how the targeted adverts will be so much better than the random ones we see today. In fact, they didn't even announce it to the UK press, it was only because it was printed in the New York Times that this has actually become public knowledge.

    So why is this such a bad thing?

    Because it will allow users to be tracked online and anything you do will be reflected in all the adverts that pop up. Want to book a suprise holiday (or other present)? It might just spoil the suprise slightly if she uses the same computer and wonders what all the adverts for travel insurance are for. That is one of the more benign scenarios I can think of but there are certainly worse ones.

    Phorm promise that they won't do anything with all this personal data except send targeted adverts. That in itself is intrusive enough but imagine what could happen in the future. Just say Phorm decide to start selling their data to companies, let's take insurance companies for example. Just imagine someone in your family has been diagnosed with a medical condition and you go online to research it. Next time your life/health insurance comes up for renewal, you might find your premiums have suddenly jumped because of a spurious link. Phorm promise they won't sell data in this way but personally I see no reason to trust them considering the way this system has been developed.

    But you can opt out right?

    Here is the thing, if you opt out of Phorm, they will not insert targetted adverts into your browsing. But they will still see all your traffic because all ISP data will be routed through Phorm's system! Your data will still be stored by a company with whom you have not signed any contract meaning they have not promised your data will be handled confidentially.

    For more information on why Phorm is a bad thing, check out some of the following links.

    BadPhorm - When good ISPs go bad!: Welcome

    Bad Phorm? UK ISPs to sell clickstream data to advertisers

    More importantly, please sign the following petition.ISPs do not want significant amounts of negative publicity. Even in the short time that this issue has been going on, TalkTalk have already switch from an opt-out system to an opt-in one. This is a start but if we push harder we can make Phorm such a hot potato that ISPs won't want to pick it up.

    Please consider signing the petition below and forward the link to other people who might be interested. I signed the petition some days ago and I haven't yet been deluged with spam offering me miracle herbal products so I think it is safe to say it is legit.

    Investigate BT's Illegal Interception of Communications Petition

    Regards, Matt

    Last edited by Da Mighty Camel; April 27th, 2008 at 16:08.

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