Make Phorm Opt-in only says ICO

Phorm will have to comply with the latest directives from the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) if the controversial advertising system is to be deployed in UK

In what many have considered as a welcomed u-turn, the ICO now says that Phorm should be an opt-in only feature; which likens it to a marketing item (like a newsletter subscription) rather than a privacy/security tool (like a spam filter) and puts it in a whole new category.

The ICO stated in a post that "Phorm products will have to operate on an opt in basis to use traffic data as part of the process of returning relevant targeted marketing to internet users."

"Whether or not the Phorm products are a concern for the Commissioner will depend on the extent to which the assurances Phorm has provided so far are true. The Commissioner has no reason to doubt the information provided by Phorm but some technical experts have publicly expressed concerns."

The statement came a few days after a computer security researcher lambasted Phorm and asked for the system to be reviewed after detecting substantial flaws.

Carphone Warehouse and BT have both signed to the system with Virginmedia apparently having only "expressed an interest".

It will be interesting to see whether other mainstream ISPs like Sky Broadband will use the argument that they are not tracking their users for marketing reasons.

You can read more our coverage of Phorm by clicking here.