Ben Tasker's Blog

Republished: A quick look at Webwise Discover

Originally published on 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;

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Republished: Phorm your own opinions

Originally published on 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.

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

Originally published on 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.

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Republished: A bit of info on the Phorm Debacle

Originally published on 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.

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Republished: Phorming Relationships

Originally published on 06 Jun 2008

Most people have heard of 121Media, although they may not be able to place where they heard the name. Well 121Media are back as Phorm, and so far they've created quite a stir. They are pushing a new style of Targeted Advertising whereby they place some hardware between your computer and the Internet and analyse the pages you access in order to serve you with 'more relevant' advertising. Unlike many other online advertisers, Phorm will not just base adverts on partner pages that you have previously accessed, but will actively analyze the contents of almost every page you view.

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