Could The Home Office Be Planning To Use Phorm?

It is a rather strange coincidence that within a few hours the government announced it is dropping plans to monitor communications, it emerged that the Home Office was in contact with controversial ad-tracking firm Phorm.

Although it does require a heavy dose of imagination to come up with such an idea, looking closer at the details and it all starts to make perfect sense (well almost).

Rather than spend more than £2 billion on a monitoring solution that, everybody knows, will be both well over-budget and late in its completion, it would be wiser to buy an off-the-shelf solution for cheaper and available readily, just like the military with civilian vehicles.

Furthermore, both entities seek to achieve more or less the same goals; being able to track and monitor who does what online; the government, to combat criminals and terrorists, while Phorm expects this to be a goldmine for advertisers who demand much better return on investments (ROI) compared to traditional online ads (like leaderboards or MPUs).

Phorm is still aiming to create in their own words "two revolutions: in online advertising and in privacy". But the amount of negative publicity it has stirred recently has convinced the complany to launch a new website called which is an open forum aimed at challenging the "rumours" and "allegations" made against the company.

The Guardian thinks that this marks the beginning of the end. Nothing though could be more certain, while it might signal the end for Phorm, this is absolutely not the case for lesser known companies operating in the same, behavioural ad targeting segment.

There may have been more emails exchange between the government and Phorm and although this is complete speculation and supposition, let us remember that all ISPs and telecoms firms in the EU have to store records for a year.