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Selling my browsing habits

A Reader writes:

Tim - you might want to have a look at this. The MSM are either ignoring it or don't understand the implications.

BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk are going to sell your browsing habits to an advertiser.

BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk (CarphoneWarehouse) have signed an advertising deal with a company called PHORM.

The company PHORM re-named itself from 121Media which was alledgedly associated with spyware last year.

These ISPs will run PHORM software inside their networks. This software will intercept and examine EVERY WEB PAGE you visit and will process it looking for keywords, and creating a profile of you.

Based on that profile, participating websites will then be able to send you targetted advertising.

BT are selling this to customers as an anti-phishing protection - WEBWISE (you will be warned if you are going onto a potential phishing site). Not that you need it - McAfee among others offer this for free.

BT will tell you that you can opt-out of this WEBWISE 'service'. You can opt-out of receiving the advertising. What they won't tell you is that you cannot opt-out from having all your web activity processed, because that is the only way this Deep Packet Inspection can work - opt out does not mean completely opt out.

There are supposed to be safety measures that protect you from having your secure transations (HTTPS) such as online banking from being processed and it also ignores email addresses and some other data. however, it will still capture post codes and other identifying information that you enter into web pages.

BT, Virgin and TalkTalk will share the advertising revenue with Phorm - said to be up to £85million.

Many people think this is an illegal wiretap under the RIPA and is also against the Data Protection Act.

As far as Im concerned this is a material change to my contract with BT, which means I can cancel it and move to another ISP who doesn't spy on me, with no penalty.

The technical community think this stinks. Read here (particularly the comments !) :

There is a petition here : http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm/

BT has no right to snoop on my data and make money out of it.


Sadly I don't think protesting to the government will help much. With this lot of control freaks and data kleptos in power they'll see this as a Godsend. Hell! They may even make it compulsory for all ISPs provided they get their cut of the info.

Carphone Warehouse already indulge in spreading their customers' details around. After signing up for Talk Talk, my wife and I found that a direct debit to Setanta Sports was being taken from our account. We were annoyed to say the least that they are so careless with our banking details. It took about 2 months of toing and froing to cancel the DD and get our money back.

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