Big Tech Companies Urged To Boycott Phorm

The Open Rights Group has sent a letter to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, asking them to reject the controversial behavioural advertising solution, Phorm/Webwise.

In an open letter sent to the chief privacy officers of high profile companies like Microsoft, Google/Youtube, Facebook, AOL/Bebo, Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay, the Open Rights Group encourages them to block Phorm from profiling their websites.

ORG considers that the Phorm/Webwise system is illegal. Communications, they say, "cannot be lawfully intercepted, as this system does, without the informed consent of both the sender and receiver."

The letter goes on describing how Webwise "will make copies of copyright material without permission, a further unlawful activity. Also, by forging extra ‘tracking’ cookies in your name, it may well bring your own system into disrepute."

The document, signed by Alexander Hanff and Richard Clayton, come after three of the countries biggest Internet Service Providers, Virgin, Talktalk and BT are considering implementing Phorm across their networks amidst dwindling subscription revenues.

An online petition, submitted by Mark Antony Thompson, has garnered more than 21400 signatures and wants the Prime Minister to stop ISP's from breaching customers privacy via advertising technologies.

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Our Comments

Whether users want it or not, it is unlikely that Phorm's adoption will be derailed. The current state of the economy means that every little helps and in Phorm's case, the advertising revenues that can be derived from profiling the users of the three concerned ISPs is likely to attract the interest of many marketers (and even the government).

Related Links

Open Letter - Call for major websites to opt out of Phorm

(Open Rights Group)

E-Petition on Phorm

(Number 10 Gov)

Top webcos advised to avoid bad Phorm

(Theinquirer)

Phorm boycott urged by ORG

(Webuser)

Open letter asks for Phorm boycott

(ITPro)

Big websites urged to avoid Phorm

(BBC)