Sunday 5 July 2009

The Guardian reports BT drops Phorm!

The Guardian has today reported that BT have decided to drop Phorm due
to customer opposition and public concerns over privacy.

Follow the link for the full story:

This is excellent news for the anti-Phorm campaign. With many other websites
opt-ing out from being scraped, it won't be long before Phorm model is completely

Next up, Virgin Media (who are still sitting on the fence).

Thursday 30 April 2009

Websites which have opted-out of Phorm scraping

The following websites have all said that they do not want their website scraped by Phorm and have sent a message to Phorm for their domains to be 'opted-out':
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Thursday 9 April 2009

ORG reports LiveJournal has 'opted-out' of Phorn

The ORG is carrying an article here which points to a blog called MickeyC’s Interweblog.

The blog explains how the author managed to convince the people at LiveJournal to block Phorm. It begins:

Today I convinced the good people at Livejournal to request that and all of it’s subdomains be added to the Phorm Webwise exclusion list. I contacted their privacy department, expecting a boiler plate non-informative response, but it went quite differently. I got a direct response from their Director of Engineering and Operations (Tupshin Harper), and permission to quote him. Here’s what was said:

Follow the links above to read the full story.

Monday 23 March 2009

Letter to the UK Guardian Website regarding ORG Open Letter on Phorm

I recently sent this letter to the UK Guardian management:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to bring to your attention the following open letter,
sent to some major Internet websites by the Open Rights Group,
Richard Clayton of the FIPR, and privacy campaigner Alexander Hanff:

The open letter calls for major websites to opt-out of the Phorm
profiling system.  

What opting out means in practice is that Phorm will not use any
information gathered through deep packet inspection to build up
profiles of the visitors to the Guardian website and will not use
use this profile to serve targeted ads on another website.

One year ago, your advertising manager, Simon Kilby stated that the
Guardian would not be using Phorm's OIX advertising network:

"It is true that we have had conversations with them [Phorm] regarding
their services but we have concluded at this time that we do not want
to be part of the network. Our decision was in no small part down to
the conversations we had internally about how this product sits with
the values of our company."

Many of the visitors to the Guardian talk-board and in the Internet
community at large were very pleased with this decision.  I hope The
Guardian is still willing to take an ethical stance against Phorm and
protect the privacy of its users.

"The most important currency of the Guardian is trust. This is as true
today as when CP Scott marked the centenary of the founding of the
paper with his famous essay on journalism in 1921.",,906788,00.html

Indeed, your privacy policy states quite clearly that:

"We are absolutely committed to protecting your privacy. Our policy
can be summarised in one sentence: we will not share your information
with others without your prior consent. We have also established the
following principles:

1. We will continue to invest in high-quality security and do our
utmost to protect user privacy through the appropriate use of the
latest security technology.",,933905,00.html

It is for these reasons I am asking that The Guardian website to
opt-out of Phorm and abide by its own privacy policies and protect
its users privacy and preserve and promote their trust.

Yours sincerely,

phormwatch (real name used)

Watch this space for any news of a response from The Guardian.

Saturday 3 January 2009

Fundraising for House Of Lords Round Table Event

From the nodpi website:

Myself and Portly_Giraffe ( are currently working with a member of the House of Lords to organise a ’round table’ event later this month, giving Peers and MPs direct access to some of the very best and brightest minds in the IT industry… both from the UK and abroad.

We currently expect the event will be hosted in the House of Lords, and intend to convince politicians of the need to stop systems like Phorm and Nebuad.

We need your help.

With some guests traveling in a personal capacity from across the Atlantic; we need to be able to support their travel and accommodation costs

Please; make a donation to the NoDPI fund using the yellow button on the right. Transatlantic air fares are around £2,000, and we may need to offer help with accommodation too.

Happy New Year!

If you are interested in attending, please contact the admin on the nodpi website, or email me at phormwatch -at- fastmail -dot- net, and I will put you in touch with the appropriate person.

Otherwise, please donate generously if you can. This is a unique opportunity for the anti-Phorm campaign.

Thursday 27 November 2008

CPS Letter Writing Campaign for the prosecution of BT for the covert trials

Letter Writing Campaign

As many of you know, the CPS Complex Case Centre are now reviewing the
case file regarding the covert trials of Phorm Inc.’s technology carried
out by BT Group PLC in 2006/2007. Part of the review will be to
determine whether or not it is in the public interest to prosecute BT
Group for their actions.

To this end I think it would be very useful to start a new letter writing
campaign to the team that are heading up the investigation to show them
that the public feel it is very much in their interests for BT Group PLC
(and Phorm for being complicit) to be prosecuted for the illegal
interception of over 100 million internet communications during these

To this end I am requesting everyone write to the following address
expressing their concerns:

Mr Andrew Hadik

Crown Prosecution Service

Complex Casework Centre

50 Ludgate Hill



I will be contacting FIPR, ORG, Baroness Miller, Earl of Northesk and
Commissioner Vivian Reding in the next week asking them to write to
Andrew Hadik as well. I would request that people also write to their MP
and request they send a letter of support for the case to Mr Hadik too.

We need to get as many letters of support sent as possible to send a
clear message to the CPS that the public are outraged at BT Group’s
actions in 2006/2007 and would like to see them prosecuted to send a
clear message to the industry that such activity will not be tolerated.

So for the sake of a little bit of time and the cost of a stamp/
stationary - please make an effort as this really is the last chance
outside of EU intervention to have something done about this despicable

If the CPS decide not to prosecute the only further options are very
expensive (such as Judicial Reviews). So the time to act is now - lets
finally put this to rest and see public justice served. Feel free to
post this appeal on any web site or social network you use.

Author: Alexander Hanff

Sunday 26 October 2008

New Poll at Toluna regarding Phorm/Webwise deployment

Participate in the poll at The following question is asked:

"What is your opinion of the UK authorities response to BT's covert trials and the ongoing deployment of Phorm's Webwise technology?"

It is a multiple-choice poll, and you can tick more than one choice.

The poll is here: