Europe Begins Legal Action Against The UK For Allowing Phorm To Proceed

from the a-little-privacy,-please dept

We were quite surprised when the UK gave a basic approval of Phorm's clickstream tracking/behavioral advertising effort -- despite widespread consumer outrage that their internet surfing was being tracked and sold for advertising purposes. And given that simple approval, Phorm has been looking to aggressively expand. However, it appears that other officials may have a different idea. The European Commission has "started legal action" against the UK for allowing Phorm to proceed, saying that it seemed likely to violate European privacy rules. Who knows if this will actually go anywhere, but it seems pretty clear that the rather widespread mistrust of Phorm is making sure that it's not able to do much at all without additional scrutiny.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    CleverName, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 8:35pm

    Bad Phorm

    There is free software available that randomly browses thus polluting the Phorm database. It doesn't d/l all the big BW crap. If a significant percentage of users ran such software, I guess Phorm would try to have it declared illegal or something. Another thing that can be done is to change the cookie contents at set intervals.

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

  2. identicon
    ClickStream, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 8:45pm


    I dont think Phorm will have a market in the US for many reasons. One reason may be copyright. For once this law may produce a positive result for the consumer. The user creates a clickstream which Phorm would like to copy, without your permission. I suppose the ISP TOS will be changed to include forfeiture of your rights or better yet signing over copyright for all your work performed in the "cloud".

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

  3. identicon
    6 degrees of Beacon, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 12:47am

    Re: Copyright

    Beacon is already tracking Facebook "remember me" members and Alamo car rental is changing its privacy policy to mimic Beacon. &

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

  4. identicon
    Linda_Margaret, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 1:24am

    UK legal relations with the EU

    I work in Social Media in the capital of Europe in Brussels. There is a trend in European culture and legal actions towards protection of private personal data, whereas in North American online culture and legal structure, the trend is more towards the protection of online copyright and content ownership and credit. I think that the UK, already an EU Member State with a history of several concerns regarding State sovereignty being superseded by EU institutions, may have finally forced a real show down with the European Court of Justice. The UK has been there before (over maintaining the UK measurements, of all things:, and struck a "let's do both UK and EU labeling". But this time, I think it will be much harder to strike a compromise. You can't maintain privacy while not maintaining it.

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

  5. identicon
    ClickStream, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: Copyright

    Tracking a visitor on your website is one thing, tracking a user throughout the web is a much larger scope. A user does not have to visit nor do they have to allow cookies. With Phorm/ISP alliance the user has to find another nonPhorm ISP. There are not many to choose from.

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

  6. identicon
    The infamous Joe, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright

    I thought you could opt out. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 5:58pm

    Amazon has informed Phorm that it wishes to opt out of the Phorm system, but Phorm has to use more than one click.

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

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