Friday, 21 March 2008

Tracking You At The Network Level

I wrote a piece a while ago about this troublesome little marketing nugget. Now a UK based company called Phorm (anagram of morph) is coming to the US. The three biggest ISPs in the UK have already signed up with the service that allows the company to track and report - anonymous - web surfing habits of 70% of UK households with broadband. Whilst requiring its partner companies to let customers opt out of the tracking, Phorm leaves it up to those partners to determine exactly how to tell people about the opt-out option.

One privacy body in the UK - Foundation for Information Policy Research, claims that the methodology is simply illegal and now a bill is about to be introduced in New York state which would severely limit such activities.

There is territory here that would provide advantages for all sides and frankly I believe that Phorm is a step in that direction but care must be taken and the company must be challenged along the way to ensure that all interests are truly protected.

6 comments:

Trevor Attridge said...

News has leaked in the UK BT conducted a trial of the service without users permission.

Unsurprisingly the headlines are less than favourable :

"BT Broadband has admitted that it carried out secret trials on 18,000user accounts in autumn 2006 with technology from 121Media, which became the targeted advertising company Phorm"


http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/apr/03/privacy.telecoms

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