Phorm gets UK government backing

Phorm has received it's biggest endorsement yet - a statement from the UK government declaring its controversial ad targeting technology legal.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has released a statement to European Union in response to questions from regulators. The statement said that Phorm is able to operate under existing laws.

"Users will be presented with an unavoidable statement about the product and asked to exercise choice about whether to be involved," the statement read. "Users will be able to easily access information on how to change their mind at any point and are free to opt in or out of the scheme," it continued.

By partnering with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) including BT, Phorm can target ads at users signed up to the providers. Phorm has unleashed a PR offensive having seen media scrutiny and consumer concerns grow to the point where anti-Phorm pressure groups have been formed.

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The *real* problem with Phorm is that Everything you do online; web browsing, Messaging & downloading will be profiled as it passes through Phorms own server farms installed on each ISPs network.. Not only for advertising purposes, but for *any* "Interested Party" who wishes to learn what you've been doing online - for a fee. HMG under the guise of anti-terror FUD wants this system in place amongst all UK ISPs as soon as. That way, everyone gets monitored;regardless whether they've opted on or out.
If anyone believes this is purely for adverts only, then why *is* the UK's Home Office bending over backwards to facilitate something that's supposed to be a commercial concern only? The whole affair stinks to high heaven.

not everything you do online is profiled, only http traffic on port 80 is, msn/irc/etc dont go that way so arent profiled

I think the problem with Phorm is the intrusive way to inject ads. While initially Phorm can use a proxy to track cookies (it can be easily blocked) but also (i a near future) can be used for add ads for any webpage, and if you are a content creator then you don't want a unsolicited ads in your work.

If this happens I doubt that they'll truly stop looking at the info even you opt out, but rather keep quiet that they're still looking. What effects do Tor or other similar networks have on your internet speed?

The joke of a government will change it's mind after people kick up more stink. They are just coming out with this now, hoping nobody will notice when the news is all about credit crunch doom.

To digress slightly as 'credit crunch' is mentioned, wtf are this bunch of morons called real labour pumping our taxes into bailing out and propping up companies and share holders.

We should baton down the hatches and become communist a.s.a.p.

If there is money to be made, you can guess the euro cranky pigs will get their snouts in the troff a.s.a.p.

I don't swear that often, however I think we all know what ff's means!

We pay enough money to ADSL compared to Europe, the last thing we need is more ads, this looks crap I hope some FF trick addons can work some wonders.

(bucko said @ #9)
We pay enough money to ADSL compared to Europe, the last thing we need is more ads, this looks crap I hope some FF trick addons can work some wonders. :angry:

There will be. If I'm not mistaken, what this does is replace existing ads with their own. Aside from the fact that it undermines the internet as a whole, it just means that adblock will be blocking different ads than it normally would.

I'd rather they didn't do this at all, though. I have no idea of the extent of this "deep packet inspection" and just how much information they actually can get out of me so I'll be saying no if my ISP ever tries this ****.

(Kushan said @ #9.1)

There will be. If I'm not mistaken, what this does is replace existing ads with their own. Aside from the fact that it undermines the internet as a whole, it just means that adblock will be blocking different ads than it normally would.

I'd rather they didn't do this at all, though. I have no idea of the extent of this "deep packet inspection" and just how much information they actually can get out of me so I'll be saying no if my ISP ever tries this ****.

just to clarify, they dont replace existing ads. it is just another ad network like google/clicksor/adbrite etc. Websites put the code in the pages to use Phorm ads. Phorm then looks at users history and selected relevant ads, if they arent profiling that user, they fall back to the google/adbrite/clicksor/etc methods which is using page content.

Here's the thing. ISP's will use this as an added revenue source to sell their users browsing habits to the Phorm guys.

If they are willing to share some of that money with their customers (ie make it "Opt in and we'll knock 2 quid off your monthly bill") then all is well in the world.

So long as users get the choice and there is an incentive to be part of the Phorm marketing then that's fine.

If the ISPs make it "Opt out" and have no plans to share the cash then they can go swivel.

"Users will be presented with an unavoidable statement about the product and asked to exercise choice about whether to be involved"...

It pretty much sounds like an opt-in? Some people just _look_ for reasons to complain...

They aren't going to word it so that it sounds like a permanent pop-up are they? Let's just wait and see what it's like.

Question is: How hard are they going to make it so we can opt out?
OR: If they are partnering with ISP's, are we even able to opt out, or does our ISP have to opt out?

:O I'm shocked the Government would go and say its allowed, they know many people are againsed it and don't want it, infact i dont know anyone that said they do want it. It's just another case of the government going behind the publics backs and doing what they please. I hate this country!

All the Government have said is that it isn't illegal so long as users are made aware of their ISP actions. They're not going to be going out enforcing it on anyone.

But it is very important that ISPs do make their customers aware and really they are going to have to offer some sort of incentive to get people to cooperate (like a discount on their ISP bill).

(Ollie64 said @ #4.1)
All the Government have said is that it isn't illegal so long as users are made aware of their ISP actions. They're not going to be going out enforcing it on anyone.

But it is very important that ISPs do make their customers aware and really they are going to have to offer some sort of incentive to get people to cooperate (like a discount on their ISP bill).

It's an opt-out system, not opt-in, which means they are forcing it on people, and people have to specifically state that they don't want to be in the programme.

This is wrong, it should be in opt-in system, but they know damn well that most people wouldn't opt in at all. I mean, who really wants to say, "yeah, show me adverts!"

i don't know why it is assumed in this post that everybody knows what phrom is, but here is the wiki for anyone too lazy to google
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorm

The company drew attention when it announced it was in talks with several United Kingdom ISPs to deliver targeted advertising based on user browsing habits by using deep packet inspection.