Phorm - BT/Virgin/Talk Talk will track websites you visit

#1
Many people are not aware that BT, Virgin Media and The Carphone Warehouse's Talk Talk have signed a deal with a company called Phorm.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b961adc0-daf9-11dc-9fdd-0000779fd2ac.html

So what's so bad about this you may ask?

Well the ISPs will send details of every website that you visit and all the key words that you type into search engines to Phorm (a company previously involved with adware - not adaware) who will analyse this info and then use it to target advertisements at you. They claim that the whole process will be done without using your IP address or any other details.

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, we had to find out about it from the New York Times!
http://www.badphorm.co.uk/page.php?2

This is causing huge concern amongst users with regard to their privacy and security. The usual No 10 petition has started. http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm/

They say you can opt-out, but this is based on storing a Phorm cookie which is not the best way of doing it. The ISPs above have not exactly been honest with their customers about how they are going to get the users consent under the DPA either.

A Home Office internal review of Phorm's legal standing, which was e-mailed to a security website, seemed to suggest that the interception of people's web surfing habits was legal as long as users had given their consent, which also included agreeing to new terms and conditions.

Talk Talk has said it intends to make Phorm an opt-in system, while the two other ISPs have not yet decided.

BT has said that the terms and conditions for broadband users who use Phorm will be updated but some privacy campaigners argue this does not equate to informed consent.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7291637.stm

Commenting on BT network diagrams that describe the system, obtained by The Register, Professor Sommer said: "Whatever the parties involved say, this appears to be an interception under RIPA. The real issue will be about how consent is obtained."

Phorm's system works by reading the contents of web pages you visit, to build up a profile of your interests on your computer. It then uses this information to target you with appropriate categories of advertising when you later visit a website that is a member of the Open Internet Exchange (OIX), its publisher and advertiser network. Phorm has announced that The Guardian, Financial Times and MySpace have all signed up to let it serve the targeted ads to their users.

RIPA states: "For the purposes of this Act, but subject to the following provisions of this section, a person intercepts a communication in the course of its transmission by means of a telecommunication system if he... monitors transmissions made by means of the system."

RIPA goes on to allow for interception without a warrant - i.e. by Phorm and your ISP rather than law enforcement agencies - "if the communication is one sent by, or intended for, a person who has consented to the interception". The full text of the Act is available here.

The problem for BT, Virgin Media, and Carphone Warehouse is that most people are uncomfortable with the idea that all their browsing will be spied upon. Indeed, people are unlikely to give their consent when presented with all the facts, such as Phorm's roots in spyware.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/04/phorm_ripa/

More info http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/29/phorm_roundup/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7283333.stm

So you've been warned.
 
#2
I'm not that fussed, if someone wants to see what I've been looking at crack on! Even better if they are using it to target advertising towards the sites I am looking at.

I can see it now, a pop up or advert for loans, debt management, new car, student loan, miracle hair restorer, you inherited £160'000 from a diamond mine in, discount Viagra, please help - Jesse has cancer, please confirm your bank details, etc, etc.

If they think I'm going to have a look at their adverts whilst I'm looking at some of the most disgusting porn I can find then they need to have a think about how many people actually utilise their ads. (If they were to advertise Kleenex, Vaseline, handcuffs and whips they could possibly get my business.)

Anyway, back to the donkeys, KY jelly and the horny midgets! :twisted:
 
#5
CC_TA said:
I'm not that fussed, if someone wants to see what I've been looking at crack on! Even better if they are using it to target advertising towards the sites I am looking at.

I can see it now, a pop up or advert for loans, debt management, new car, student loan, miracle hair restorer, you inherited £160'000 from a diamond mine in, discount Viagra, please help - Jesse has cancer, please confirm your bank details, etc, etc.

If they think I'm going to have a look at their adverts whilst I'm looking at some of the most disgusting porn I can find then they need to have a think about how many people actually utilise their ads. (If they were to advertise Kleenex, Vaseline, handcuffs and whips they could possibly get my business.)

Anyway, back to the donkeys, KY jelly and the horny midgets! :twisted:
Your missing the point. The fact that a 3rd party is able to log your data and this is done with layer 7 redirection means they get everything. Type your credit card number into a site they get it. It's only on their word that you can take them when they say they won't look at that data, they still process it.

Imagine if Royal Mail opened every letter addressed to you and then sent you junk mail based on what they had found in your mail. Would you be happy with that even though Royal Mail claimed the process kept you anonymous?

It brings up serious issues with regard to security because if someone hacks this system or they have a disgruntled employee the ramifications could be huge. Not to mention that it's a thin end of the wedge for allowing outside agencies to monitor you and everything you do on the web. Someone knowing that you view midget porn is the least of your worries.
 
#6
Garhwal said:
Your missing the point. The fact that a 3rd party is able to log your data and this is done with layer 7 redirection means they get everything. Type your credit card number into a site they get it. It's only on their word that you can take them when they say they won't look at that data, they still process it.

Imagine if Royal Mail opened every letter addressed to you and then sent you junk mail based on what they had found in your mail. Would you be happy with that even though Royal Mail claimed the process kept you anonymous?

It brings up serious issues with regard to security because if someone hacks this system or they have a disgruntled employee the ramifications could be huge. Not to mention that it's a thin end of the wedge for allowing outside agencies to monitor you and everything you do on the web. Someone knowing that you view midget porn is the least of your worries.
'Imagine if Royal Mail opened every letter addressed to you' Imagine Royal Mail actually employing someone with enough sense to actually get your mail through your letter box instead of leaving 'On Her Majesty's Service' letters on your drive way and not even bothering to get signatures for recorded deliveries. (Army ID card)
 
#7
Garhwal said:
...serious issues with regard to security because *if someone hacks this system or they have a disgruntled employee the ramifications **could be huge...
*"...when..."
**"...will..."
 
#8
To quote Ed Balls, "So What", Quintillions of users, who, and how many scrutineers are going to be employed, and then again, Who is going to Guard the Guards.??
 
#9
Once again it's the part of the long road to giving up your personal info.

I detest sites that install programs on my PC without consent. If I want one I'll ask for it. If I want to see ads directed at me I'll ask for them.

Anyone watching porn (I've heard there is some on teh interwebs) will already have a "tracker" somewhere on your system. Just run spybot or adaware and see how many "data trackers" & "data Miners" show up.


Some jackass in a Milton Keynes tracking office looking at data from a person in Newcastle may not seem like a big deal but what of the people who live in Milton Keynes ? (ok - a place that deserves a direct hit from an artillery shell anyway) :)

The issue is - what is "done" with this information, who will protect your identity ? who will they pass it along too ? How many times do you hear of "a laptop containing 16 million identities" has been found in a car, dumpster, side of the road, etc.

Fcuk the ad companies and fcuk the ISP providers.

Rant over - time to check if Lady Sonia has posted anymore jack off clips.
(reminder to self - must run adaware again today).
 
#10
Huh! I got a dose of Castor oil not long back on here for daring to suggest that peeps were being peeps were being monitored, seems I was wrongly medicated.
 
#11
CC_TA said:
I'm not that fussed, if someone wants to see what I've been looking at crack on! Even better if they are using it to target advertising towards the sites I am looking at.

I can see it now, a pop up or advert for loans, debt management, new car, student loan, miracle hair restorer, you inherited £160'000 from a diamond mine in, discount Viagra, please help - Jesse has cancer, please confirm your bank details, etc, etc.

If they think I'm going to have a look at their adverts whilst I'm looking at some of the most disgusting porn I can find then they need to have a think about how many people actually utilise their ads. (If they were to advertise Kleenex, Vaseline, handcuffs and whips they could possibly get my business.)

Anyway, back to the donkeys, KY jelly and the horny midgets! :twisted:
Does this mean people like us will be offered animal husbandry products?
 
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