Ben Tasker's Blog

Republished: Phorm, PR Master or PR Disaster

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 14 June 2009

About a week ago, I wrote about Webwise Discover, Phorm's new 'service'. At the time I questioned just how Phorm's survey managed to find such a large proportion of responders interested in their service, to me it seemed that these users had not been fully informed before being asked.

It now appears that I was correct. Over at the PC-Pro Forums (thanks for the tip Peter) there's a post by a user called Jonaba, who claims he was one of the respondents. He claims that at no point was Deep Packet Inspection mentioned, and in fact the actual reason for the technology was that well hidden that it took him a couple of minutes to even clock onto what the survey was about.

Read more ...

Republished: A quick look at Webwise Discover

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 06 June 2009

Well, as I posted in the News links yesterday, Phorm have launched a service called Webwise Discover. It appears that this is largely a front end, allowing the user to further benefit from having Phorm follow you around the internet.

But lets take a quick look at it;

Read more ...

Republished: A bit of info on the Phorm Debacle

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 5 Mar 2008

The tech news pages are alive with the news that BT, Virgin Media and Talk Talk are planning to sell its customers browsing information to a company named Phorm.

BT claims that the new 'service' Webwise is intended to improve the browsing safety of its users. It includes a list of Phishing sites, and warns users when they attempt to connect to one of the listed sites. Newsflash for you guys: FIREFOX ALREADY HAS THIS FUNCTIONALITY. Its nothing new, and of no real benefit if you already have a browser that does this. It's also not a lot of use if you are wary of emails from institutions that ask for personal details.
Unfortunately WebWise also sends your browsing history (and a copy of everything you send/download on unsecured connections) to Phorms servers where they will profile it and effectively mangle some of the pages you download to include adverts that they believe may interest you.
This mangling will only happen on pages that run adverts from Phorm, not every site will be effected.

Read more ...

Republished: Phorm your own opinions

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org on 06 October 2008

It has been revealed today that BT consider it the account holders responsibility to explain about Webwise to all users of their connection. BT have revealed in their revised terms and conditions that they can accept no responsibility if users of a connection are not kept informed about Webwise by the account holder.

Read more ...

Republished: UK Government fails to respond to the EU about Phorm

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 13 Aug 2008

Below is a copy of a letter the EU sent to the UK Government at the end of june. As reported on The Register, the Government has yet to respond. The letter was sent at the end of June, which means that the deadline has been missed. Apparantly the Government would not comment on exactly why they had missed the deadline, and it's not entirely clear what happens next. Potentially our government could find itself having to defend it's actions (or more to the point, lack of action) in Luxembourg.

Read more ...