British ISPs Hand Over Your Surfing Data To (Former?) Spyware Firm

from the privacy? dept

Earlier this month, we noted that three large UK ISPs had agreed to a questionable deal with a startup named "Phorm." The ISPs would share all of your surfing data with Phorm who would then target advertisements to you based on your surfing patterns. We raised some privacy concerns, and noted that Phorm's claims that it would anonymize the data were laughable, since every "anonymized" data set seems to get quickly de-anonymized. In the comments to that post, one commenter noted that the story was even worse, as Phorm was merely the reincarnation of a spyware firm that had made a rather infamous rootkit. Broadband Reports now has more on that story, noting that the firm has a very shady past. It makes you wonder why these big ISPs would link up with such a company and why more people aren't up in arms about what their ISPs are doing with their data.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Clark, Feb 27th, 2008 @ 11:27pm

    Poor Limey's

    All I can say is thank goodness I don't live in England.

    But then again, my ISP is just as unscrupulous as the next, so who knows when its my turn? Monopolies suck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    mike allen, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 12:10am

    how do they

    intend to deliver these ads if by taking images off a site and putting ads in then they will get suied

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Paul`, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 1:30am

    where will the ads be?

    They'd get sued if they framed other websites to run their own ads down the side and the only other thing I can think of is making customers use their propitiatory browser with ads hard coded in which would be easily circumventable. Plus the frame ads would be easily blocked with Adblock.

    Wasn't there a leak of screenshots with an ISP developing this a few months back?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    simon, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:21am

    surfing and privacy

    we know that surfing on the net leaves trails all over, and a lot of this traffic is sniffed by programs, idea is , privacy if privacy on internet will not get the same level of concern like the one of the phone calls we make, all this will link to the extinct of privacy ...

    imagine, you'll call to order a pizza, 2 minutes later you'll get a call from an advertiser telling you that this other company has better pizza, better prices, better... whatever...
    totally anonymous :)) but still your phone number...

    something like this happened to internet, most of us don't realize, me, i just love using no-script on firefox not to see them, but i know that the adds with links, etc , are there, linking maybe my ip right now to a nice an yummy pizza site :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 6:38am

    How will they install it?
    "The company's business model revolves around distributing its PageSense technology to as many users as possible and showing users as many advertisements as possible, without causing negative reaction, to maximise response.

    121Media currently acquires most of its users by integrating its PageSense Desktop technology with consumer software products known as distribution applications, which are offered free of charge to internet users in exchange for their permission to display advertisements.

    PageSense Javascript can be embedded by a variety of partners, such as Internet Service Providers, serving pages to those connecting to the internet through them."

    In Summary, do not agree to D/L or install any "free" stuff

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    JB, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    Wait a Second

    Let's go back a step here...

    Why does the ISP even have the surfing history?

    If all these lawmakers want to pass laws that will make them look good to the voters, they should make it illegal to retain surfing history - anonymous or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Michael Sherrin (profile), Feb 28th, 2008 @ 7:21am

    Re: where will the ads be?

    I'm not positive if either of these are what you were referring to:

    1) A Canadian ISP forced ads on the Google homepage.

    2) Verizon redirecting missing URLs into a landing page with their ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    You never know, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Well, leave it to the british goverment to be compleatly cluless to the needs and wants of thier citizans.... Lets just hope it never gets that bad over here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.