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Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:16 pm
by anti-phorm
Virgin, BT, Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on customers!

I only post this as its going to be the single biggest shake up in the world of UK ISP’s since... mmmm forever and alarmingly it doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere on the site. It will affect millions of users, so if you get your broadband from Virgin Media, BT or Carphone Warehouse read on and be worried, very worried.

Link - http://www.cableforum.co.uk/article/377 ... ed-ad-deal

Feb 26, 08:00 PM by Mick

Online privacy? What is this? Must be a thing of the past according to recent reports.

Three top Internet Service Providers, which includes Virgin Media, have signed an agreement with Phorm, an entity which has technologies which track web users surfing habits and then serves them adverts related to their interests.

BT, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media have apparently agreed to hand over details of its customers surfing habits, which will then allow Phorm to serve up ads direct to customers of those ISPs mentioned above.

Check your calendar, its not an April fools joke, this is going to happen. So how will it all work?

Apparently Phorm says its setting up a new online advertising platform called the Open Internet Exchange, which any Web site will be allowed to join. Ads will then be served up on such sites and ad revenues generated from such ads will be shared with BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse.

So BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse, have agreed to give Phorm access to customers’ surfing records, letting it track their every move on the web. The Internet exchange can send an ad directly to the marketer’s target audience, anywhere on the Web.

The hope is, that an advertiser would be willing to pay more to target the right audience, quickly and efficiently. This is apparently a better option than a advertiser approaching a web publisher and hoping an Internet user lands on the site displaying the ad.

Apparently, Kent Ertugrul, chief executive of Phorm, based in London had the following to say:
“Now you can turn things around for the advertising industry, and say, ‘You define the audience you want to reach”.

So you have read up to this point and you are absolutely fuming about the thought of your ISP tracking your web surfing habits and sharing this information with a third party company, which then hopes to serve you with an advert which suites your interest.

But hold on for a minute, apparently customers of the three main ISPs can opt out of the new system but they will be encouraged not to.

Phorm has also apparently stated that it would guarantee anonymity by tracking individual users with an assigned number only, and by regularly clearing the data.

Update 2:
Below is some information to frequently asked questions regarding this story, kindly provided by some of our members.

FAQ:-
Who should I complain to about this if this is something I do not agree with?
The first port of call should be to complain to Virgin Media directly, state that you are not happy about your data being tracked and sold to a third party even if your identity is protected or not.

Secondly, there is a Data Protection concern regarding how the data is collected and the fact customers have automatically been opted in, regulation usually requires that customers should be given the option to Opt in, not Opt out.

If you are concerned and feel you need to complain to The Information Commissioner’s Office – ICO Website. You can ring them on 01625 545 745

When will Virgin Media Implement this system with Phorm?
Virgin Media have simply stated that they have not decided yet what they are doing or what options are there for the customers. The bottom line is, they need to be fully consulting with the customer and we will be making sure that they provide relevant information to the customer and what options will be available to them.

Is there anything I can download to prevent this ‘Intrusion’ i.e stopping the data analysis being collected by my ISP and passed on to the likes of Phorm?
Yes there is, its called Tor and can be downloaded Free from here. Please make sure you read the documentation before you decide to download and use it. Please note that use of this software is at your own risk.


Note also, the company phorm has plans to roll their system out on American ISP’s too, so be warned, its not just an issue for UK people, it coming state side too!!!

If you care even just a little bit about your privacy online, it would be in your own best interest to read up on this whole subject.

Here are list of links that I would strongly suggest people look at for further reading. In there you will find much information about who phorm are and what they mean to do and how it will affect you... all 10 million of you.


Learn more about phorm at Badphorm - http://www.badphorm.co.uk/page.php?2

The Register now has a very informative collection of articles called The Phorm Files - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/29/phorm_roundup/

Cable Form currently has the biggest debate anyware on the subject - http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/12/33 ... dated.html

BT forum discussion - http://www.beta.bt.com/bta/forums/threa ... 0&tstart=0

Sign the e-petition to help stop phorm - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm



If anyone wants to submit this story to get it to the front page, please do so. The more people know about this the better. Together we can try to put a stop to this thing before our privacy gets sold for 30 pieces of silver

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:17 pm
by Paladwyn
It seems all these ISP's are driving a nail into their own coffin. If they insist on throttling bittorrent and not respecting privacy, they are going to lose customers at an alarming rate, they will go to the ISP's that will actually be what people want without screwing them in the ass.

Comcast is already feeling the burn for their bullshit. Soon these companies will find out that they cannot treat all their customers like criminals without getting it back at them.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:35 pm
by Fartingbob
Well they can fuck right off if they think they are going to monitor every site i visit and throw ads at me all day. Visit a single pr0n site thats signed up and forever get penis enlargement pill ads on every other site you visit.
Sure us savvy users will just block the ads, but if its done at the ISP end then we wont be able to block the monitoring part, which is the real shitter.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:39 pm
by anti-phorm
To make matters worse, you are opted in by default and cannot even fully opt out. Because even if you opt out, your data is still monitored by phorms system software, you just won’t receive the targeted ads.

To make matters doublely worse phorms CEO Kent Ertugrul has made his previous fortunes peddling spyware/adware.

Link - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/07 ... _ertegrul/

El Reg: Can you explain the history of Phorm and how you were linked to what security experts describe as spyware?

Kent Ertegrul: We started off creating a toolbar. The toolbar was kind of a social browsing concept. Wherever you browsed it would show you people who browsed to the same website. And then what you would do is click and chat with those people, so it was like social networking based on where you were browsing.

We concluded that the best way to monetise that was advertising. And because we were aware through the toolbar where people were browsing we started building an ad server that allowed you to show ads based on that.

That grew very well and then we saw an opportunity to take the ad technology that we built and bundle it with freeware applications. So that's how we got into the adware business - as opposed to the spyware business.

Things grew more and we went public, in fact we were the only public adware business, with shareholders like Fidelity and Morgan Stanley. Our [non-executive] chairman is the former chairman of Microsoft UK [David Dornan]. There's nothing shady.

But what happened was it became very clear to us that there was no distinction in people's minds between adware - which is legitimate - and spyware. So we did something unprecedented which was we turned around to our shareholders and we shut down all our revenues. We weren't sued, we weren't pressed by anyone, we just said "this is not consistent with the company's core objectives".

So PeopleOnPage was the original toolbar. When we took that public we were 121Media. When we decided to shut that down we became Phorm.


Not exactly a guy that’s best qualified to be implementing a system that digs around in yours, mine or any ones else’s private data.

Re:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:01 pm
by Nutty-Slack
anti-phorm wrote:so if you get your broadband from Virgin Media, BT or Carphone Warehouse


That's like... virtually every domestic user in the UK then!?!

Can't say that I know much about this yet, but if it does materialise, it's a nice little illustration of the ISPs' total lack of regard (contempt even) for their customers, and the kind of money-grabbing, fink, rat-scumbags that own/run them.
But then really, let's face it, 'Carphone Whorehouse'.... 'Vilegrin Global Domination Inc.'... 'British Telecon'.... You'd be hard pressed to find three more malodourous, predatory and nefarious corporations.
So where's the actual surprise?

I've been using VPN services for a year or so now anyway, pretty much on the basis of: if I don't trust my ISP then they can't abuse my trust.
Works out to about £600 a year now, just for an Internet connection - that's getting steadily slower, more restrictive and yet, more expensive.

If I thought for a second that it would make more difference than say, complaining to the guy who cleans our windows (shoddily) once a fortnight, i'd probably write to my spineless local MP about it (the 'Phorm' thing that is).
But he can go fuck himself right along with the ISPs. :|

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:41 pm
by crossover
This is currently a huge issue in the UK, I wonder if Phorm have approached US ISPs.

Phorm has some high level execs, ex MS, ex DoubleClick etc, I wonder if this is a test case before someone like Google does the same thing in America.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:45 pm
by loftie
S**t storm waiting to happen. Imagine say a family, with two children, one say 18 year old kid and one 9. Now if the oldest kid starts looking at porn loads, then the moment the younger one starts surfing the web, wham! Porn porn porn porn porn, or the usual viagra tablets, enlargement pills, sex toys, girls in your area crap. Worse still is if the kid is younger than 9. This isn't just an invasion of privacy, its irresponsible and stupid. Lets hope the CEO's kids are targeted by said adverts, then we'll see how much they like Phorm! :pissedoff: :pissedoff: :pissedoff:

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:50 pm
by anti-phorm
crossover wrote:This is currently a huge issue in the UK, I wonder if Phorm have approached US ISPs.



Phorm launches data pimping fight back
CEO Kent Ertegrul on spyware, bulls**t and opting-out
El Reg: So what reaction are you getting in the US at the moment?
KE: Same thing, very positive. We're speaking to a number of very large ISPs and websites there... We're very optimistic in the US.

CEO Kent Ertegrul discusses the history of "Phorm, its SOP, and his links to spyware in The Register interview.




expect phorm in US ISP's sometime soon :/

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:55 pm
by crossover
This is god damn scary as shit, this is the governments dream. The US already has a leadership that doesn't care about personal privacy and wiretaps without any legal proceedings. Plugging in a box at the ISP level to monitor ALL port 80 traffic and extract sellable information from pages people visit is insane.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:21 pm
by anti-phorm
crossover wrote:This is god damn scary as shit


Indeed, which is why it’s in everybody’s best interest to look into this subject and act now before it’s too late. Once phorm gets its hooks into all the major ISP’s in the UK and US, the internet as we know it will change forever.

The links I provided in the first post will help bring you up to speed with things, especially The Register’s articles ‘The Phorm Files’.

Spread the word to all that you know so that together we can make a stand.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:16 am
by anti-phorm
Virgin Media broadband users can follow the heated phorm discussion here -
http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/12/33 ... dated.html

Talk Talk broadband users can follow the heated phorm discussion here -
http://www.talktalkmembers.com/forums/s ... 266c&t=740

BT broadband users can follow the heated phorm discussion here -
http://www.beta.bt.com/bta/forums/threa ... 0&tstart=0

and remember to sign the e-petition to help stop phorm - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm


get involved, get asking question, and DONT accept the PR spin that is starting to appear. Yes thats right, phorm have hired a PR company to handle the replies given on many of the tech sites/blogs/forums.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:30 am
by tehdoomsayer
think the option they are looking at is not browser specific (no cookies will be used) but will be based on a variable which is stored on TalkTalks systems.

If this variable is set to 'Yes' then you will be assigned a different route though tht network to the users who are set to 'No'. It's a bit more work for TalkTalk, but will keep people happier !

It's still awaiting finalization, but i'm sure Matt will update you when he knows the excact details.


said lee of CPW Networks Support (whatever the fuck that is)

after reading through TT's thread, since it was the shortest, it looks like if you opt-out on their service you're going to get assigned a different route which will not go near phorm servers. i don't know what the other companies are saying but it looks like TT at least is going to make a good effort to make it completely optional and prevent/protect users who opt out from the phorm-lameness. hopefully other ISP's are thinking the same thing then they can still be greedy and protect customer privacy at the same time.

i'm cheering for you UK'ers that this all works out. much love from South Dakota USA

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:28 am
by Paladwyn
As long as people are made aware of it, they will complain. If they complain loud enough, it won't matter what these companies want to do, they will tank, they WILL fold. By all means, this isn't a "Stop worrying about it" post, this is a "Bitch like hell, and threaten to leave" post. Flock to the smaller ISP's..the ones who actually care. They will grow, get bigger..while Virgin and the other will see their userbase fall like stones.

They can't pull this crap. Complain about spyware, privacy, anything you can get your hands on. Say it makes your baby cry if it helps. Heck, say it gives you cancer...that one seems to get things moving.

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:47 pm
by tehdoomsayer
Paladwyn wrote:Heck, say it gives you cancer...that one seems to get things moving.

:lookup:

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:44 am
by Aaron.Walkhouse
So, how many of you folks want to be hooked up to a psiphon node? 8)

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:21 am
by boneface
I'm leaving Virgin Media this week because of this.
Though i doubt it will make any difference...

Re: Virgin BT Carphone Warehouse to rollout phorm spyware on us

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:48 am
by Paladwyn
boneface wrote:I'm leaving Virgin Media this week because of this.
Though i doubt it will make any difference...


Well, if you leave and inform others of their plans, perhaps they will leave too. Take them down.