Phorm’s deep blog inspection

If you’re interested in online privacy issues, you may have read about Phorm, the company that gets your web usage data from ISPs in order to show you contextual advertising.

Recently I’ve been contributing to a blog called Future Music Lab along with some colleagues from the music, media and online industries. One of my posts was an intro to Phorm as I understood it.

I then received an email from Benjamin Usher of the Phorm Communications Team, essentially correcting me on three points I’d made.

It’s interesting that they seem to be monitoring blog posts so closely. I’m not known as a privacy champion or anything, but clearly they felt the need to salvage some reputation by putting me straight. The email looks very “boilerplate” with what look like well-rehearsed rebuttals – so I don’t know if these are old arguments. I still have concerns about Phorm though and the email didn’t reassure me enough to welcome them.

You can comment directly here, on Future Music Lab, or on your own blog.

Make sure you republish anything that you get via email. Let’s have some open scrutiny.

3 Replies to “Phorm’s deep blog inspection”

  1. Hi Carl

    Its not unusual for Phorm to respond to blog posts. To date they have hired no less than 5 PR agencies to represent them. It doesn’t matter how many PR drones they hire, though. To use the infamous quote from the US election; “You can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.”

    The simple truth is that Phorm and their PR agencies have shown a distinct lack of honesty and transparency when it comes to dealing with the considerable criticisms of them and their technology. They insist on obfuscating the issues by claiming that you can opt-out of the system when it is impossible to opt-out of the interception and Deep Packet Inspection only the advertising.

    Then they launched a smear site to attack and name their critics. Quite ironic for a company claiming their system is anonymouse and is a “privacy revolution.”

    They have a history in spyware and rootkits and have yet to apologise for the misery they caused to thousands of people who were infected by their Apropos Rootkit and PeopleOnPage spyware. They claim they shut down that part of the business voluntarily but what they neglect to mention is that legal proceedings had been instituted against them in the US for this very spyware.

    I tried to comment on your Future Music Labs blog post but that comment seems to have got lost so I decided it was maybe more apppropriate to comment here on your own personal blog.

    You said you still have concerns. I am sure you would be welcome to join the debate and discussions over at one of the many campaign sites such as badphorm or nodpi.

  2. Alex, thanks for your comments. The Future Music Lab post has had your comment and a few others approved. Sorry for delay, there are a few people using it and we’re just getting the systems in place.

    You’re right to emphasise the spyware background, my correspondent had no comment to make on that…

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