Campaigners celebrate 'victory' over Phorm

Open Rights Group says BT has made the right decision to not implement Phorm's advertising system.

phorm logo

Following yesterday's news that BT has no immediate plans to use Phorm's network scanning behavioural advertising system, its vocal critics stepped up to celebrate.

Phorm's Webwise system has been criticised because it sees everything a user does online, as it scans traffic at a network level using a technology called deep packet inspection (DPI).

Critics of Webwise have included creator of the web Sir Tim Berners Lee, who famously compared the system to having a television camera in your living room, as well as privacy campaigners and websites setup just to protest the company. Phorm responded a few months back by setting up its own website to correct "misconceptions".

Alexander Hanff, of NoDPI, was one of the campaigners targeted by the Phorm website. He wrote: "I read the news and 18 months worth of emotion ran down my cheeks, I was unable to hold back the tears of joy and even now 10 minutes later they continue to fall."

Open Rights Group's Jim Killock - who previously compared Phorm to corporate espionage - welcomed BT's decision and called on other ISPs including Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk to "follow their lead."

"This is the right decision for BT and other online providers who respect privacy," he wrote on ORG's site.

But he warned: "Phorm will remain a threat to our fundamental rights while they offer services that intercept communications without the consent of all parties."

Indeed, yesterday Phorm stressed it still has an ongoing trial in Korea and is in talks with ISPs around the world.

Click here to read on how Phorm came to be such a controversial issue in the UK.

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