ICO looks into Phorm

After being approached by the online advertising firm before the launch of their Open Internet Exchange product, the Information Commissioner's Office is looking into how Phorm will protect privacy.

Advertising firm Phorm has submitted documents to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) a month after making the headlines amid privacy concerns about its technology and service provider deals.


Open Internet Exchange

A spokeswoman for the ICO said Phorm initially approached the watchdog for its opinion, and the watchdog is now examining documents explaining how Phorm will protect privacy.

In a statement, the watchdog said: "The Information Commissioner's Office has spoken with the advertising technology company, Phorm, regarding its agreement with some UK internet service providers. Phorm has informed us about the product and how it works to provide targeted online advertising content."

It added: "At our request, Phorm has provided written information to us about the way in which the company intends to meet privacy standards. We are currently reviewing this information."

The ICO said it has also contacted the internet service providers who are working with Phorm to discuss the issue with them.

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"We told them about it because we were excited about the privacy aspects," she said, adding Phorm hopes the ICO sees their product the way they view it, as a way to protect privacy. According to the Phorm website, the OIX does not store personal information, IP addresses or browsing histories, and users can switch off the system if they choose.

"It's all part of an ongoing dialogue, and we'll answer any questions they have," she added. "It all seems very positive."

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