BT and Virgin Media to press ahead with Phorm

Stock prices of Phorm, a controversial targeted advertising company, rose as much as 40% in trading yesterday.

Phorm
deliver targeted advertising based on user browsing habits by using deep packet inspection. The method has been widely accepted as controversial and has involved the UK police and UK Government.

BT has been trialing the system for some time with the latest 4 week trial concluding recently. The Phorm system allows BT to track and monitor every website that a user visits. BT puts this information into a database and is then able to insert its own advertising onto web pages that is targeted specific to those users.

In a joint statement from BT and Phorm yesterday BT said "Following the successful completion of analysis, both of the trial results and of any changes required for expansion, BT's expectation is to move towards deployment."

Yesterday Virgin Media launched their 50mbps service, Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett was questioned by the Guardian regarding the possibility of Phorm - "There will be a point in time when we use the intelligence in our network for targeted advertising," he said. Whether it will be through Phorm or some variation of Phorm's technology, however, he said it is still too early to tell.

In October, Orange ditched Phorm due to privacy concerns.


Phorm stock, courtesy of Google Finance

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