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-   -   Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797] (https://www.cableforum.uk/board/showthread.php?t=33628733)

lordy 19-02-2008 19:27

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal - Would you be opting out?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gavin (Post 34492115)
For people not savvy enough to use Firefox/adblock, I should imagine seeing relative ads would be a lot better than random or content-targetted ads.

Not sure i'm happy about the opt-out process. Every time you clear your cookies you have to go to the site and request a new one?

+ Multiple machines. Multiple users (kids etc). Also how/when will cookie be sent? Do you have to visit VM home page at start of every session, or will they use a proxy session to intercept html and request the cookie?

I was planning on cancelling again now I got over the euphoria of my temporary 10M upgrade/cancellation glitch (see other threads). But I was still very much in two minds. If this goes ahead it will be a no-brainer and help towards next years holiday :)

Mick 19-02-2008 19:48

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77]
 
Update 2. For further clarification, Virgin Media have directed me to the following FAQ on the Phorm website...

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Phorm?

Phorm is an innovative digital technology company that designed and built the infrastructure and technology that power Webwise and the Open Internet Exchange
(OIX). [X]

Which ISPs have partnered with Phorm to launch the OIX and Webwise?

UK ISPs representing approximately 70% of the UK broadband ISP market have joined Phorm to launch the service to consumers. These are BT Group PLC, The Carphone Warehouse PLC and Virgin Media Group. [X]

For Consumers - Webwise

What is Webwise?

Webwise is a feature offered by leading UK ISPs in the UK that helps protect customers from fraudulent websites and replaces generic online ads with ads that are relevant to customers' interests. Webwise is powered by Phorm technology.[X]

How do I opt out, or switch off the service?

If you have the OIX or Webwise available from your ISP, simply go to www.webwise.com and click Webwise Off. If you have several computers using the same internet connection, or use different log-ins or browsers, be sure to switch off Webwise from each one.

When Webwise is off, you will no longer receive warnings before reaching fraudulent sites. Webwise will also no longer analyse any data from the web pages that you browse to see if there are better ads to show you. For more information, see www.webwise.com/how-it-works/faq.html. [X]

How does Phorm protect customer privacy?

No private or personal information, or anything that can identify you, is ever stored - and that means your privacy is never at risk.
Phorm identifies each user with a unique, randomly-generated number. With it, Phorm can deliver warnings of potentially dangerous websites and replace untargeted ads with more relevant ones, but can never identify the user personally. Phorm's technology can also be switched off easily at any time. [X]

What information does Phorm store about browsing behaviour?

Phorm only stores advertising categories that match a user's areas of interest. There is no sensitive data stored. [X]

Does Phorm ever store a customer's IP address?

No. The IP address is never stored. [X]

Does Phorm collect any information that can identify me by name, address or any other personally-identifying information?

No. Phorm does not collect personal information, and cannot use it to serve ads. The system does not attempt to identify the user in any way and does not integrate with any system (like the ISP's log-in system) that could identify the user. [X]

How does Phorm ensure that no personal information is collected?

Phorm uses technology that has been built from the ground up to avoid any information that might identify a customer personally. Phorm technology does not view any information on secure (HTTPS) pages, and ignores strings of numbers longer than three digits to ensure that we do not collect credit card numbers, phone numbers, National Insurance or other potentially private information. [X]

Can a user's browsing history be identified if the government or ISP requests it?

No. The browsing history is not stored in any way. The unique fundamental design of this technology ensures that consumer privacy is protected and that, even under compulsion, no personally-identifying data or detailed browsing data can be retroactively provided to anyone.
The privacy claims Phorm make about its technology's use of consumer data have been verified by leading global auditing firm Ernst & Young. (View report PDF) The technology used by the OIX will be regularly audited on an ongoing basis to make sure that we continue to comply with our commitment. [X]

What type of security measures do you have so that aggregated data is not stolen or lost?

Phorm has a high level of system and network security and operates a stringent security policy. Access to database hosts is restricted to systems administrators and data access is only permitted for specific purposes within the terms of the security policy.
However, the major safeguard is that all data is anonymous and cannot be attached to any individual. Only derived channel-match information is stored against the anonymous id in the database and all raw data is deliberately and continuously deleted according to the privacy timeline. These procedures are regularly audited and verified by Ernst & Young. [X]

MovedGoalPosts 19-02-2008 19:48

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77]
 
Virgin (phorm) might need to rethink the idea of an opt in or opt out procedure relying on a cookie:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Information Commissioner's Office

Guidance on the Privacy and Electronic
Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
Part 2: Security, confidentiality, traffic and location data,
itemised billing, CLI and directories

2.2 Information to be provided
Cookies or similar devices must not be used unless the subscriber or user of the
relevant terminal equipment:
• is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes
of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
• is given the opportunity to refuse the storage of, or access to, that
information.

The Regulations are not prescriptive about the sort of information that should be
provided, but the text should be sufficiently full and intelligible to allow individuals
to clearly understand the potential consequences of allowing storage and access
to the information collected by the device should they wish to do so. This is
comparable with the transparency requirements of the first data protection
principle (see Legal Guidance paragraph 3.1.7).
There may be different interpretations of the requirement that the user or
subscriber should be 'given the opportunity to refuse' the use of the cookie type
device. At the very least, however, the user or subscriber should be given a clear
choice as to whether or not they wish to allow a service provider to continue to
store information on the terminal in question.
The fact that an 'opportunity to refuse' such storage or access must be provided
imposes a greater obligation on the relevant party than simply making refusal a
possibility. The mechanism by which a subscriber or user may exercise their right
to refuse continued storage should be prominent, intelligible and readily available
to all, not just the most computer literate or technically aware. Where the relevant
information is included in a privacy policy, for example, the policy should be
clearly signposted at least on those pages where a user may enter a website.
The relevant information should appear in the policy in a way that is suitably
prominent and accessible and it should be worded so that all users and
subscribers are able to easily understand and act upon it.

On that basis I can refuse a cookie that stores that I've opted out, because it's storing information on my preference. Similarly I can refuse the opt in cookie.

Sirius 19-02-2008 19:53

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick (Post 34492122)
Update 2. For further clarification, Virgin Media have directed me to the following FAQ on the Phorm website...

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Phorm?

Phorm is an innovative digital technology company that designed and built the infrastructure and technology that power Webwise and the Open Internet Exchange
(OIX). [X]

Which ISPs have partnered with Phorm to launch the OIX and Webwise?

UK ISPs representing approximately 70% of the UK broadband ISP market have joined Phorm to launch the service to consumers. These are BT Group PLC, The Carphone Warehouse PLC and Virgin Media Group. [X]

For Consumers - Webwise

What is Webwise?

Webwise is a feature offered by leading UK ISPs in the UK that helps protect customers from fraudulent websites and replaces generic online ads with ads that are relevant to customers' interests. Webwise is powered by Phorm technology.[X]

How do I opt out, or switch off the service?

If you have the OIX or Webwise available from your ISP, simply go to www.webwise.com and click Webwise Off. If you have several computers using the same internet connection, or use different log-ins or browsers, be sure to switch off Webwise from each one.

When Webwise is off, you will no longer receive warnings before reaching fraudulent sites. Webwise will also no longer analyse any data from the web pages that you browse to see if there are better ads to show you. For more information, see www.webwise.com/how-it-works/faq.html. [X]

No matter what that site says i still think Virgin are totally in the wrong by making this Spyware a opt out not a opt in.

dav 19-02-2008 20:20

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick (Post 34492122)

When Webwise is off, you will no longer receive warnings before reaching fraudulent sites. Webwise will also no longer analyse any data from the web pages that you browse to see if there are better ads to show you. For more information, see www.webwise.com/how-it-works/faq.html. [X]

They really like to play on your fears don't they:rolleyes:
I bet they're hoping people will not notice that their choices are either sanctioned (£->Phorm) or unsanctioned (normal) web-ads, while all the time wrapping it up as if they're providing us with a 'service'.

Fortunately, I like to slice my own bread. I don't need Phorm to do it for me.

bringerofnoise 19-02-2008 20:48

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
By making it a pain in the backside EG:needed to re-opt out everytime you do some pc hosekeeping they hoping that people will give in.

I think i'll do the opt out and see what the cookie contains and see if i can "automate the process" in someway if thats how they are going to make it:mad:

I wander what you have to do to get the head job @ VM it sure as hell can't be to do with intelligence, unless the idea is to loose customers then obviously they've hired a bonefide genius :rolleyes:

sigh

Mick 19-02-2008 21:01

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I've included some more questions from the FAQ from Phorms website in my post above:-

http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34492122-post102.html

Sirius 19-02-2008 21:32

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick (Post 34492166)
I've included some more questions from the FAQ from Phorms website in my post above:-

http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34492122-post102.html

They go on and on about not using personal information, The bloody point is that VIRGIN are going to give them the information without asking me first ?????????:mad:

lucevans 19-02-2008 21:38

Here's where to switch it OFF
 
Okay everyone... bookmark the page below (or even better, make it your homepage so every time you launch your browser, the first thing you do is click on OFF... that'll really **** Phorm off if hundreds of thousands of people start to do that 10 times a day...)

http://www.webwise.com/privacy/opt/out.html

:D

Sirius 19-02-2008 22:05

Re: Here's where to switch it OFF
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lucevans (Post 34492193)
Okay everyone... bookmark the page below (or even better, make it your homepage so every time you launch your browser, the first thing you do is click on OFF... that'll really **** Phorm off if hundreds of thousands of people start to do that 10 times a day...)

http://www.webwise.com/privacy/opt/out.html

:D


Nice find :clap::clap::clap:

I have inserted it in my Sig for all to see. Maybe everyone should put it in their sig. Plus post it on every bloody website and forum you visit.

TehTech 19-02-2008 22:14

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
So do I need to keep this 1 cookie at all times??
What if having this stored cookie does the opposite of what they say?

Toto 19-02-2008 22:21

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
OK, too late now but I wish to retract my previous comment. It would appear that the company behind Pform appear to deploy spyware tactics to push these adverts through, and are linked with very deep root kit intrusion systems.

I've been following the many threads on the VM newsgroups, and what I am seeing on there is concerning to say the least.

If the rumours are anywhere near true, cookies will not be a problem, it could be considerably worse.

Advice, if you are prompted to download an Active X control, or some other download mechanism from the VM portal in the near future carefully read the terms and conditions of that download.

pigpen 19-02-2008 22:26

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I'm curious about this part on the Phorm FAQ:
Quote:

What kind of ad units will be delivered to my subscriber, and where will they see them?

The OIX can potentially serve ads to any of the websites your subscriber normally visits in the regular places the website shows ads. The OIX does not show pop-ups or pop-unders. [X]
Does that mean this system replaces existing adverts on websites you visit? I can't imagine that would make anyone who runs a website particularly happy if they're to lose out on revenue from 70% of the UK.

Please correct me if I've grasped the wrong end of the stick...

lucevans 19-02-2008 22:28

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492224)
OK, too late now but I wish to retract my previous comment. It would appear that the company behind Pform appear to deploy spyware tactics to push these adverts through, and are linked with very deep root kit intrusion systems.

I've been following the many threads on the VM newsgroups, and what I am seeing on there is concerning to say the least.

If the rumours are anywhere near true, cookies will not be a problem, it could be considerably worse.

Advice, if you are prompted to download an Active X control, or some other download mechanism from the VM portal in the near future carefully read the terms and conditions of that download.

Care to elaborate, Toto? I'd be interested to read any info you've seen on their rootkit activities (and more importantly, so might the data protection commissioner). Presumably these would be ineffective against our Mac and Linux cousins?

Toto 19-02-2008 22:41

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lucevans (Post 34492230)
Care to elaborate, Toto? I'd be interested to read any info you've seen on their rootkit activities (and more importantly, so might the data protection commissioner). Presumably these would be ineffective against our Mac and Linux cousins?

Sure thing, if the moderators have no objections, I think I can find some links from the VM discussion forums....give me a few minutes.

OK, read this first (its a pdf document, scanned with NOD32, safe).

The Chairman and CEO listed in there may have been responsible for this

And this article will seal it. You will notice the company name in there is the one behind Phorm.

Apologies if I have broken forum rules, but I think it makes interesting reading if these articles are true.

EDIT: This article really puts some meat on the bones. :)

---------- Post added at 21:41 ---------- Previous post was at 21:31 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by pigpen (Post 34492226)
I'm curious about this part on the Phorm FAQ:


Does that mean this system replaces existing adverts on websites you visit? I can't imagine that would make anyone who runs a website particularly happy if they're to lose out on revenue from 70% of the UK.

Please correct me if I've grasped the wrong end of the stick...

I think you have grasped the stick firmly in both hands. Is it me, or does this look worse by the minute??

eddcase 19-02-2008 22:46

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal - Would you be opting out?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick Fisher (Post 34491820)
Speak for yourself. I haven't rolled over yet and never will.

Sorry Mick, I wasn't implying any kind of subservient compliance. But, it is fact that they know what car you drive, where you go on holiday, where you go during the day, what you eat, where you work, what your credit rating is, where you bank, what your health is like etc etc so knowing your browsing habits is part of a very long list. And who's to say that those who choose to opt out aren't actually of more interest to them than those who don't?

Hell, give 'em a hair these days and they'll go and make a new version of you. Sorry readers, I'm just rambling :D

Sirius 19-02-2008 22:57

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492234)
Sure thing, if the moderators have no objections, I think I can find some links from the VM discussion forums....give me a few minutes.

OK, read this first (its a pdf document, scanned with NOD32, safe).

The Chairman and CEO listed in there may have been responsible for this

And this article will seal it. You will notice the company name in there is the one behind Phorm.

Apologies if I have broken forum rules, but I think it makes interesting reading if these articles are true.

---------- Post added at 21:41 ---------- Previous post was at 21:31 ----------



I think you have grasped the stick firmly in both hands. Is it me, or does this look worse by the minute??

This does not shock me one little bit when it comes to Virginmedia.

---------- Post added at 21:57 ---------- Previous post was at 21:46 ----------

:

Toto 19-02-2008 23:00

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492247)
This does not shock me one little bit when it comes to Virginmedia.

---------- Post added at 21:57 ---------- Previous post was at 21:46 ----------

:LOL: how about this from the newsgroups

Well yeh, they aren't seeling on your details, but it bothers me like hell that in order to deliver these adverts it would "seem" that spyware is the only way to do it...........NO! NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!!!!

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:03

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492264)
Well yeh, they aren't seeling on your details, but it bothers me like hell that in order to deliver these adverts it would "seem" that spyware is the only way to do it...........NO! NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!!!!!

What gets me is that they are going to give my personal information to a third party without my consent and without telling me. That is a total like of security on VirginMedia's part and is criminal in my eye's

what we are going 5to need is for someone to come up with some form of blocking software to block them

Toto 19-02-2008 23:05

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492268)
What gets me is that they are going to give my personal information to a third party without my consent and without telling me. That is a total like of security on VirginMedia's part and is criminal in my eye's

They have said they won't be passing your personal information. By that I assume you mean your Name, address and even your IP address?

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:11

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492271)
They have said they won't be passing your personal information. By that I assume you mean your Name, address and even your IP address?

What sites i visit is my personal information and not that of a third party paying VirginMedia for the ability to place adverts relating to that information.

That is the PERSONAL information i am talking about. I do on line banking, Pay by credit card online. I do not want ANY information what so ever being passed on by Virgin to some third party so Virgin make a swift buck.

Virgin have stepped over the bloody line this time big time.

what makes this stink even more is that the company they are going to use has the worst reputation any company has ever had for Spyware and Rootkit systems. This is the company that VirginMedia are going to pass on your PERSONAL information to on a daily bases for the time you are a customer of there's.

So the next time you log into your bank or you pay for that flight with your credit card online think that the information on that page will be passed to a third party who has a very very very bad rep in the industry and will do with it as they see fit as long as it makes them a fist full of money

Toto 19-02-2008 23:13

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
OK, this gets better, you have to love this little snippit from their AIM proposal.

Quote:

The PageSense Javascript application can be embedded into web pages, where it analyses their
content and communicates this information to the Company’s servers. In this way, a profile of an
individual consumer’s browsing habits can be compiled anonymously, which enables advertising
to be targeted where it will have the most impact. PageSense Javascript can be embedded by a
variety of partners, such as Internet Service Providers, serving pages to those connecting to the
internet through them, web publishers showing content to their user bases, or wireless networks.
The Directors expect to enter into the first such partnership arrangement in the first quarter of
2005.
All I can say is this, thank goodness for the NoScript plugin for Firefox. :)

---------- Post added at 22:13 ---------- Previous post was at 22:12 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492272)
What sites i visit is my personal information and not that of a third party paying VirginMedia for the ability to place adverts relating to that information.

That is the PERSONAL information i am talking about. I do on line banking, Pay by credit card online. I do not want ANY information what so ever being passed on by Virgin to some third party so Virgin make a swift buck.

Virgin have stepped over the bloody line this time big time.

Yes, I wasn't having a pop, I just wanted to clarify what you meant by personal information.

Mick 19-02-2008 23:19

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492234)



I think you have grasped the stick firmly in both hands. Is it me, or does this look worse by the minute??

To clarify this on how I understand the system - They cannot just replace ads on a website that hasn't joined the OIX (Open Internet Exchange) They cannot start to take web advertising space off someone elses ad space, such a move is illegal and we shall consider legal proceedings if anyone attempts to steal advertising space on this website without the website owners consent.

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:20

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492273)
OK, this gets better, you have to love this little snippit from their AIM proposal.



All I can say is this, thank goodness for the NoScript plugin for Firefox. :)

.

Nice one just installed it. Will also lockout IE on all the pc's in my house and allow firefox only from now on.

Will also block Virginmedia's website via my router.

Toto 19-02-2008 23:23

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick (Post 34492281)
To clarify this on how I understand the system - They cannot just replace ads on a website that hasn't joined the OIX (Open Internet Exchange) They cannot start to take web advertising space off someone elses ad space, such a move is illegal and we shall consider legal proceedings if anyone attempts to steal advertising space on this website without the website owners consent.

OK, so what you are saying then is that adverts served up on those company sites that have joined Phorm will be based on browsing experience.

So for example, if I went to the VM portal, and say clicked on a link to Churchill Insurance (OH YES), then I visited the BT portal, I could expect to have adverts for similar services pushed at me?

---------- Post added at 22:23 ---------- Previous post was at 22:22 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492283)
Nice one just installed it. Will also lockout IE on all the pc's in my house and allow firefox only from now on.

Will also block Virginmedia's website via my router.

Its a good little addon, and updates regularly, VERY regularly. :)

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:28

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick (Post 34492281)
To clarify this on how I understand the system - They cannot just replace ads on a website that hasn't joined the OIX (Open Internet Exchange) They cannot start to take web advertising space off someone elses ad space, such a move is illegal and we shall consider legal proceedings if anyone attempts to steal advertising space on this website without the website owners consent.

:LOL:

So i can take it this site will not be joining Virginmedia's new customer shafting system then :)

Mick 19-02-2008 23:29

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492284)
OK, so what you are saying then is that adverts served up on those company sites that have joined Phorm will be based on browsing experience.

So for example, if I went to the VM portal, and say clicked on a link to Churchill Insurance (OH YES), then I visited the BT portal, I could expect to have adverts for similar services pushed at me?

Yes, this is how I understand the whole concept to work - If a site hasn't signed up to the OIX - Phorm won't exist on that website.

---------- Post added at 22:29 ---------- Previous post was at 22:28 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492291)
:LOL:

So i can take it this site will not be joining Virginmedia's new customer shafting system then :)

Not a chance in hell - over my dead body.

MovedGoalPosts 19-02-2008 23:30

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Looking at the vm website they have a specific address for privacy issues:

Attached is a letter I've just sent them. Anyone is welcome to copy or amend it.

Quote:

Group Compliance
Virgin Media
160 Great Portland Street
London
W1W 5QA


Dear Sirs

Subscriber Privacy: Virgin Media & Phorm

I read with some disgust and alarm of the proposed tie up between Virgin Media & Phorm. This apparently, somehow, involves the disclosure by Virgin Media, to a third party (Phorm) of my web browsing habits, supposedly for marketing purposes.

I am not clear how exactly this works, and frankly am not interested in the technology. I am concerned about my privacy, which I expect you to reasonably protect.

I can find nothing in Virgin Media’s stated privacy policies, terms and conditions or service, or indeed anywhere else that permits Virgin Media to disclose my browsing habits or indeed any personal information to third parties, other than as specifically required by law. Indeed, until recently, there were clauses in the Acceptable Use Policy which indicated that as my ISP you did not even monitor how I used my services. That seems to have been insidiously dropped. Perhaps you can explain how, in view of your policies Virgin Media can now disclose my information without my specific consent?

My interpretation of guidance from the Information Commissioners Office, and elsewhere is that this advertising system would be an electronic transmission and thus requires me to specifically opt in. I hereby confirm I do not opt in. Indeed it should not be necessary for me to even have to spell this out to Virgin Media.

I also note it might be the intention of Virgin Media and / or Phorm to operate an “opt out” system which relies on cookies placed on a users computer. Such a practice is flawed. I am not obliged to retain on my computer any means of storage of information of my preferences, which may be used by others. Please see the Information Commissioner’s Office: Guidance on the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, Part 2, section 2.2. Thus reliance on a cookie to prevent transmission of my browsing habits to Phorm via Virgin Media, or simply to prevent me seeing their served up electronic ads breaches these rules. I confirm I do not give consent for such a cookie to be placed on my computer. Thus Virgin Media, if they persist with this ill-advised scheme, must find another method of securing my privacy.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not consent to my browsing habits, or indeed any other personal data being disclosed to third parties, or even other Virgin Group companies. This applies to any marketing or other purposes that are not directly associated with the supply of the services I have contracted to receive.

At best this smacks of sharp practice in order to prop up Virgin Media’s poor balance sheet. At worst, this whole thing is probably illegal.

Yours faithfully

Joxer 19-02-2008 23:34

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
For those people wondering how to turn it off permenantly:

I delete my cookies regularly, and I want to keep Webwise switched off. How do I do that?

If you regularly delete your cookies and want to ensure that Webwise is permanently switched off, simply add [OIX.net] to the Blocked Cookies settings in your browser.

They use a cookie on you machine to store you identifying number so all you need to do is permenantly reject it.

Still a pita if you have more than one pc and more than one browser installed on each, especially since you need to remember to do it again after a reinstall and possibly an upgrade.

(Wanders off to look at possibility of blocking domain entirely on router firewall.)

Well my router has domain blocking so that was remarkably easy.

Toto 19-02-2008 23:50

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492295)
Looking at the vm website they have a specific address for privacy issues:

Attached is a letter I've just sent them. Anyone is welcome to copy or amend it.

Good letter Rob....

Did a quick look and found the following clause in their Privacy policy.

Quote:

We may use aggregate information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring web site usage in order to help us develop the web site and our service and may provide such aggregate information to third parties for example content partners and advertisers. These statistics will not include information that can be used to identify any individual for example, '10,000 people clicked on an advertisement yesterday'
Not sure if it has any bearing on their potential tie up with Phorm.

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:50

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492295)
Looking at the vm website they have a specific address for privacy issues:

Attached is a letter I've just sent them. Anyone is welcome to copy or amend it.

Rob your a star and i will be sending a copy as well. :tu:

lucevans 19-02-2008 23:51

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492234)
Sure thing, if the moderators have no objections, I think I can find some links from the VM discussion forums....give me a few minutes.

OK, read this first (its a pdf document, scanned with NOD32, safe).

The Chairman and CEO listed in there may have been responsible for this

And this article will seal it. You will notice the company name in there is the one behind Phorm.

Apologies if I have broken forum rules, but I think it makes interesting reading if these articles are true.

EDIT: This article really puts some meat on the bones. :)

---------- Post added at 21:41 ---------- Previous post was at 21:31 ----------



I think you have grasped the stick firmly in both hands. Is it me, or does this look worse by the minute??

Thanks for the links Toto - very informative. From the last one, it sounds as if this Ertugrut chap ran into problems with the US authorities over the invasive nature of his company's "technology", so he's upped-sticks and moved the operation (allbeit under a new name) to the UK, where the government don't give a flying-one about individuals' privacy (in fact I'm surprised the government haven't contracted his services for their own nefarious purposes - maybe they have...?) The question now is "what can we do to stop this?"

Sirius 19-02-2008 23:51

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492315)
Good letter Rob....

Did a quick look and found the following clause in their Privacy policy.



Not sure if it has any bearing on their potential tie up with Phorm.

Looks like Virgin are changing there terms and conditions without informing there customers to me.

lucevans 19-02-2008 23:54

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toto (Post 34492315)
Good letter Rob....

Did a quick look and found the following clause in their Privacy policy.



Not sure if it has any bearing on their potential tie up with Phorm.

Sending the information "10000 people clicked on this link today" to third-parties is NOT the same thing as sending the information "Client 02365794 clicked on this, this, this....and this today" The latter is, whilst still technically anonymous, specific to a single individual, and therefore by definition, not aggregated data.

Toto 19-02-2008 23:59

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34492320)
Looks like Virgin are changing there terms and conditions without informing there customers to me.

Actually, I think that has always been there, but in the absense of any document version number or date, I cannot be 100% sure.

---------- Post added at 22:59 ---------- Previous post was at 22:55 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by lucevans (Post 34492324)
Sending the information "10000 people clicked on this link today" to third-parties is NOT the same thing as sending the information "Client 02365794 clicked on this, this, this....and this today" The latter is, whilst still technically anonymous, specific to a single individual, and therefore by definition, not aggregated data.

Yeh, getting tired now. There's probably something in the cookies section of their privacy "policy", but my eyes are itching.

Goodnight all.

Joxer 20-02-2008 00:03

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
The thing about the terms and conditions is it contains this section:

We and/or Virgin Media Payments may at any time improve, modify, amend or alter the terms of this agreement and/or the services and their content if:

1. there is any change or amendment to any law or regulation which applies to us or Virgin Media Payments or the services we provide to you;
2. we decide that the services should be altered for reasons of quality of service or otherwise for the benefit of our customers or, in our reasonable opinion, it is necessary to do so;
3. for security, technical or operational reasons;
4. the programming or content provided to us by any of our programme and service providers is altered;
5. we decide to offer certain programmes as Pay-Per-View or programmes on demand;
6. if the changes or additions are minor and do not affect you significantly or we wish to have all our customers on the same terms and conditions; or
7. in all other events, where we reasonably determine that any modification to our system or change in our trading, operating or business practices or policy is necessary to maintain or improve the services which we provide to you.

lucevans 20-02-2008 00:14

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492295)
Looking at the vm website they have a specific address for privacy issues:

Attached is a letter I've just sent them. Anyone is welcome to copy or amend it.

Thanks Rob. You're a star. Is there a privacy issues e-mail address, or is it snail-mail only?

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 00:28

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I've only found the snail mail one so far:

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html...acypolicy.html

---------- Post added at 23:28 ---------- Previous post was at 23:19 ----------

It's also worth noting Virgin Media's own Code of Practice - a plain speaking document that really can't be that much more explicit in it's wording:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgin Media Code of Practice Feb 08

5.8 Confidentiality of Customer Information
We will treat any information we have about you in confidence and will not disclose it to anyone except yourself, or in accordance with any instructions you have given us. However, there are circumstances in which we may be required by law to disclose information. Such requests normally come from Statutory Authorities, for example, Police Forces, Customs and Excise etc. Any such disclosure will be strictly controlled and will be made fully in accordance with current UK legislation, in particular the Data Protection Act 1998.

I specifically observe the phrase "any information"

boroboi 20-02-2008 01:25

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
So their Privacy Policy contradicts their Code of Practice?

Im sure that little loophole will be altered.

Either way, if this comes into practice, then its obviously a breach of contract.

fatbloke 20-02-2008 01:46

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I think that I will be saying bye bye VM soon..they never learn.:rolleyes:

qfred 20-02-2008 01:50

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I wonder if Watchdog will be looking into this?

petersamson 20-02-2008 01:51

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Is there any way to get out of the contract based on this news?

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 09:37

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petersamson (Post 34492380)
Is there any way to get out of the contract based on this news?

Until it is implemented, certainly not. If it's implemented, without a robust procedure that means that the customer's information is not disclosed, then as far as I am concerned it will be a breach of contract by VM for infringement of my rights and I will vot with my feet.whether they like it or not.

lostandconfused 20-02-2008 09:53

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petersamson (Post 34492380)
Is there any way to get out of the contract based on this news?

Wont there be an opt out? If thats the case i dont think it would be a way of getting out of contract

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 11:47

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
That depends on whether an opt out procedure is sufficient to guarantee privacy.

Remember this is not about the display of the ads, it's the information that is being passed so the ads can be created. A cookie that blocks the ad display is thus woefully inadequate.

In any case, the extent of this invasion of privacy means that, according to every bit of guidance I can find, the spirit of the law is an opt in procedure is needed, not opt out. Unfortunately this may be a grey area where the legislation didn't quite envisage this form of transmission of electronic privacy data.

Spleeny 20-02-2008 13:18

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Ekkk - This is getting all complicated... can someone please help me out.

It seems that by "opting out" at webwise that a dummy cookie is placed on your PC which will deflect all ads. Alternatively, you can block cookies from OIX.net. OK... fine with that per se.... BUT it seems that Virgin will STILL be selling my surfing habits to these Phorm characters, its just that I will be mitigating the affects by blocking cookies. This is unacceptable to me. Are Virgin offering the option for us to opt out of Virgin selling data to Phorm?

Sorry to those that get annoyed at posts like these, I have tried to follow the thing through but its too complicated for a newb like me.

THANKS

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 13:22

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Spleeny, that is it in a nutshell. As far as I can see your details will continue to be sold, and privacy invaded, even if you have followed the "opt out" procedure so far outlined.

Evil 20-02-2008 14:49

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
AFAIK this would be illegal under the Data Protection Act unless we give consent for it to happen. Although consent can be simply failing to reject the changes to the T&C’s.

I think I’m going to write a letter explicitly withdrawing permission to pass on my data to any third party.

TehTech 20-02-2008 15:01

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492434)
Until it is implemented, certainly not. If it's implemented, without a robust procedure that means that the customer's information is not disclosed, then as far as I am concerned it will be a breach of contract by VM for infringement of my rights and I will vot with my feet.whether they like it or not.

No offence Rob, but implemented, thinking about it, planning it etc, they (VM) DO NOT give a hoot about their customers, IF they DID, then surely some bright spark somewhere in the whole company would have bought up the fact that at the moment it is ILLEGAL for vm to pass on any of it's customers details, and IMO, as they are seriously considering this, then it just proves they will do ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING to make more money for themselves!

I wish I could get my hands on the no-good piece of trash at vm that agreed to this, Id shake the twerp till he couldnt do anything

Traduk 20-02-2008 15:06

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I feel sure that many people reading this topic may conclude that spying on our web usage albeit with supposed anonymity is no big deal.

I would suggest that a Google on "AOL privacy violation" will show what a mess they got themselves into when their practises became public. A 60+ year old woman was easily identified from search practises and it was the unique anonymous collection of data that pointed to her. If for example you input your full name in a genealogy search then every data entry applicable to the anonymous identifier is obviously from that individual.

For my part I care not what assurances are given of data security because there have been far too many instances of seriously important data losses and leaks from government and local authority departments to even trust them let alone a bunch of fly by night advertising sharks.

IMO it is absolutely appalling that a service provider, who already struggles to give what it charges for, should violate privacy for financial gain. The USA has been through this process (privacy intrusions) and the sharks have been thrown out just for the process to start over here. I bet we are naive and apathetic enough to let them get away with it.

The was an example of choice of targeted ads and that was Opera. Free with ads and pay for without. IMO NTL have a choice = free with ads or pay for without which of course has no chance.

I am angry because I pay a load of money for a service which is way below par and they now advocate exploitation

TehTech 20-02-2008 15:14

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
It would just be the icing on the cake if this phorm backs up its data onto CD.... Man we are all so screwed!!

info4u 20-02-2008 15:56

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Just download an IP changer

http://www.theprivacyguard.com/images/screen1.jpg

Then they cannot target you

http://www.theprivacyguard.com

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 16:03

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
How would an IP change / proxy guarantee your privacy. Who is to say that the details your ISP is giving away are not linked to the mac address of your modem :confused:

We really haven't got enough information on how the system uploads information on your browsing habits. I'd suggest it has to be something at ISP network level, if the ISPs are required to sign up. That negates anything at your own computer level, except for blocking the final advert displays.

Stuart 20-02-2008 16:06

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by info4u (Post 34492632)
Just download an IP changer



Then they cannot target you

http://www.theprivacyguard.com

That does not change your original IP. What it does is change your proxy settings to a random proxy, so websites you are viewing cannot see it.

Virgin's logging system will probably log your communications BEFORE your TCPIP packets get to the proxy (anonymous or not).

brundles 20-02-2008 16:37

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492635)
How would an IP change / proxy guarantee your privacy. Who is to say that the details your ISP is giving away are not linked to the mac address of your modem :confused:

We really haven't got enough information on how the system uploads information on your browsing habits. I'd suggest it has to be something at ISP network level, if the ISPs are required to sign up. That negates anything at your own computer level, except for blocking the final advert displays.

Something like that is an interesting point. If they were basing the logging and ad serving on IP address then wouldn't that open the way for you to get ads targetted at someone else after a few modem reboots? Not good if that someone else had unsavory habits and choices of web pages.

Another worry is the performance impact. The network is slow enough already in places - now they're adding in a constant stream of bandwidth to Phorm as a requirement. Best case is that Phorm just get a batch of data once a week/day and the realtime bandwidth is limited to "ad for customer 1234 please" and the advert coming back. Worst case is VM sending the full profile every time if they keep the data.

The PageSense links above are a real worry - while NoScript is a damn good plugin, certain trusted websites (e.g. my bank!) still use them and have been whitelisted. Essentially this means that PageSense is able to grab sensitive information on the very sites you don't want them to have data from. I like the idea of the domain blocking (might be time to add that on to my router!) but all that would take is for the communication to be IP based rather than domain based to work around it.

Edit: Thinking about it, GreaseMonkey may also be of some use here - you could then write a script to specifically rip out any PageSense script in the page coming through so that even whitelisted pages are still safe.

Sirius 20-02-2008 16:39

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by info4u (Post 34492632)
Just download an IP changer

http://www.theprivacyguard.com/images/screen1.jpg

Then they cannot target you

http://www.theprivacyguard.com

Looking at the system they intend to deploy changing your ip will be as much use as an ash tray on a motorbike :LOL:

lordy 20-02-2008 17:43

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Not to mention, as the AOL search leak demonstrated, people put a lot of personally identifying information in URLs.

---------- Post added at 16:43 ---------- Previous post was at 16:18 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by info4u (Post 34492632)
Just download an IP changer

Then they cannot target you

http://www.theprivacyguard.com


All this does is switch between HTTP Proxies. If you do this automatically
it will break HTTP sessions. Most proxies will be pretty slow too. A big sacrifice for any real world protection you think you may be getting.

Also as Phorm will likely be cookie based and be able to cope with DHCP , switching IP address wont make any difference.

A bit Snake Oilish.

You could have just installed the FireFox SwitchProxy tool for free.

Sirius 20-02-2008 18:26

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I now have the full costs of moving my accounts to SKY, BT and BE Unlimited should Virgin Media decide to go ahead and start giving my private and personal information to a third party company against my wishes and in my opinion against the LAW.

Virgin have now put them selves in the class of the SPYWARE, Virus companies as far as i am concerned and i want nothing to do with them.

Virgin Will lose every product i have with them TV, Phone, Broadband, Mobile

MovedGoalPosts 20-02-2008 18:34

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I'd be interested to know what Mr Branson thinks of this latest potentially damaging move to his brand name?

Sirius 20-02-2008 18:36

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34492721)
I'd be interested to know what Mr Branson thinks of this latest potentially damaging move to his brand name?

If it means he gets his share bonus then what will he care about.

you have a PM

lucevans 20-02-2008 21:23

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
To quote the Webwise FAQs...
"Do I have to have a PC to use Webwise?

No. Webwise works on all computers that browse the web and over 94% of Internet browsers.

Which browsers are the 6%? I have a feeling that they're going to make up more than 6% of Virgin Media customer's browsers before long....

Toto 21-02-2008 07:44

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lucevans (Post 34492885)
To quote the Webwise FAQs...
"Do I have to have a PC to use Webwise?

No. Webwise works on all computers that browse the web and over 94% of Internet browsers.

Which browsers are the 6%? I have a feeling that they're going to make up more than 6% of Virgin Media customer's browsers before long....

This is a stab in the dark here, but that figure could be Internet Explorer, which "could" indicate that the technology is Active X control based.

iglu 21-02-2008 09:54

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Use JAP. Anonymity and privacy almost guaranteed.

Kellargh 21-02-2008 14:54

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I'm disgusted. This isn't only happening on Virgin but on BT as well...I'm really unhappy about this as it's a blatant disregard for my privacy!! More personal information to be lost in the future is all I can see!

(ps. maybe change the vote to 'opt out of your internet supplier?')

Paranoimia 21-02-2008 15:10

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Apologies if anything here has already been mentioned, but there are too many posts in this thread for me to read through.

Firstly, this business about storing a cookie to opt out is a joke. That basically means that you need to remember to opt out every time you clear personal data from your system, or re-install your machine. Exactly why this should be opt in and not opt out.

Secondly, from what I've read on the WebWise website, this technology is what diverts you to a warning screen when you're about to visit dodgy phishing sites:

"Webwise automatically checks web addresses you browse to, even ones you click on accidentally, against key industry blacklists of known fraudulent websites. These lists are constantly updated by the top companies in this field. Sites that appear on those lists will be flagged with a warning notice before you reach them, giving you an opportunity to avoid them."

So my question is - why should we need to disable such a security device simply to opt out of an advertising scheme? These two items should be completely separate - opting out of the adverts should under no circumstances affect our security.

The current scheme seems to hold a virtual gun to our heads, and say "view our adverts, or risk your online safety." Okay, everyone should have firewalls etc. installed, but even so, the removal of any additional layer of security can only be seen as a bad thing.

Griffin 21-02-2008 20:10

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
If everyone installs a good ad blocker then no ads will get through to anyone, end result no revenue generated. Perhaps VM will heed the message & drop this stupid idea. Better still a switched on VM manager read this thread, then use the grey matter & stop the ad deal being implemented.

rogerdraig 21-02-2008 20:20

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
i have cookies blocked on the kids computers wonders if virgin would be allowed to track the on-line habits of minors and sell them on ?

this cookie on my computer thing seemed laughable to me if i tell them i don't want to take part it should be up to them to store it on their system

next the TPS will be saying we need dongles on phones to make sure we want to opt out

RizzyKing 21-02-2008 21:23

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Ok i havn't read all the pages (was losing the will to live) so excuse me if this has been mentioned. i used to work for a market research company the monetary value of this type of information is massive. If VM do this they should reduce the cost to all subscribers to take account of the large amount of money they will get for this little bout of spying.

If VM are not getting a large sum of money due to this we should all cancel our subscriptions as VM obviously has some of the most incompetent business people in the UK atm. I have voted to opt out if this comes in because i have seen similar schemes to these get very misused when the company concerned is chasing the money train.

This is not something that should be allowed and personally i think if this goes ahead it should be the other way round you opt in to this not opt out. For those saying "ah but we are monitored all the time nowadays" yeah thats true and shame on all of us for allowing it to get to the stage it is at but that doesn't mean we have to keep going along with it.

Say no, mean no and if they don't listen cancel your subscription i gaurantee enough do that you'll suddenly find VM very attentive.

Sirius 21-02-2008 21:37

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Griffin (Post 34493379)
If everyone installs a good ad blocker then no ads will get through to anyone, end result no revenue generated. Perhaps VM will heed the message & drop this stupid idea. Better still a switched on VM manager read this thread, then use the grey matter & stop the ad deal being implemented.

However VM will still be sending the information to this Spyware company. the cookie if i read it correctly only stops you seeing the end resulting ad's

---------- Post added at 20:37 ---------- Previous post was at 20:35 ----------

Quote:

Originally Posted by RizzyKing (Post 34493427)

Say no, mean no and if they don't listen cancel your subscription i gaurantee enough do that you'll suddenly find VM very attentive.

I intend to do just that should this Spyware be used.

Joxer 21-02-2008 21:54

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I've said it before but I thought it needed clarification.

Phorm use a cookie to store your Personal identification number or PIN so. blocking cookies from OIX.net (or indeed all cookies) means no PIN which means no data is collected.

Phorm do not collect urls they classify websites (e.g. "Finance" or "Health and Beauty") and collect and store the classifications.

I don't really think this is very easily tracable as the link between the data and you is stored on your pc, and the data itself is not particularly sensitive. It's a bit like some standing in a street and giving you a flyer for a clothing store after noticing that you had been in several recently and ignoring the next guy because all he had been in was electronics goods shops.

It's fairly easy to stop especially if your router supports url blocking, then you can block all traffic from them for all your pc's. You could also block it from your personal firewall or your browser.

I'm not trying to condone the action but Virgin media is a business and has to be as competitive as possible, network upgrades have to be paid for somehow.

MovedGoalPosts 21-02-2008 22:10

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joxer (Post 34493463)
I've said it before but I thought it needed clarification.

Phorm use a cookie to store your Personal identification number or PIN so. blocking cookies from OIX.net (or indeed all cookies) means no PIN which means no data is collected.

Phorm do not collect urls they classify websites (e.g. "Finance" or "Health and Beauty") and collect and store the classifications.

If that is how it works, purely cookie based, why does the ISP need to be involved :confused:

Simple truth your ISP is about to sell you out, by selling to Phorm your usage habits. That requires some sort of network monitoring system. All a cookie will do is identify you to Phorm when they try to serve the ads back up. If is was purely cookie base, all the spyware companies would extremely quickly blacklist anything to do with Phorm.

lucevans 21-02-2008 22:12

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34493438)
However VM will still be sending the information to this Spyware company. the cookie if i read it correctly only stops you seeing the end resulting ad's

---------- Post added at 20:37 ---------- Previous post was at 20:35 ----------



I intend to do just that should this Spyware be used.

I've just downloaded and started to read the Enst & Young audit on Phorm's process, and it states; "We offer an easy, anonymous method for users to opt out of Phorm's systems if they would rather not receive targeted advertising and content. For as long as a user retains the Phorm opt-out cookie, the system will not collect or store data on their browsing behaviour." (my bold highlighting) Their claim appears to be that if we opt out, then they will not collect any data even though VM may well still be sending it to them. How much do we trust them on this? Not much at all would be my answer...before this system is initiated, VM must tell all of it's customers exactly how this works: If a customer has opted-out, what information (if any) is still sent by them to Phorm, and what information (if any) is still collected, stored and analysed by Phorm, regardless of whether "web security" or advertisements are provided to that customer or not.

Horace 21-02-2008 22:19

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
"We offer an easy, anonymous method for users to opt out of Phorm's systems if they would rather not receive a shot to the head"

^_^

lucevans 21-02-2008 22:22

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob (Post 34493475)
If that is how it works, purely cookie based, why does the ISP need to be involved :confused:

Simple truth your ISP is about to sell you out, by selling to Phorm your usage habits. That requires some sort of network monitoring system. All a cookie will do is identify you to Phorm when they try to serve the ads back up. If is was purely cookie base, all the spyware companies would extremely quickly blacklist anything to do with Phorm.

Good point. For this to work the way they hope it will, maybe VM will access that cookie with every webpage they serve us with, then send the resulting category data (and God knows what else) to Phorm?

Joxer 21-02-2008 22:34

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
The question is how do you get the cookie? As far as I know you can't get a cookie without visiting a website (though I may be wrong). I take it that phorm have some software which wil have to sit on virgins network and monitor data but I don't know how this will work - if it's just monitoring data how does it manage to examine your cookie? Does it just do it for web sites that are signed up for it's services? That would work, so it would not know about sites you visit that haven't signed up for it's services so it wouldn't work for everyone anyway.

And how much of our precious bandwidth will be used sending all this data all over the place?

Ooh, just had a thought, you could have real fun deliberatly opting in and then editing the cookie on a random basis.........

---------- Post added at 21:34 ---------- Previous post was at 21:29 ----------

@ Rob

It's not purely cookie based there has to be something VMs side too but the cookie is the identifier so no cookie = opt out cookie but in my opinion easier to implement. How it actually works we are unlikely to know until someone reverse engineers it.

lucevans 21-02-2008 22:40

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joxer (Post 34493463)
I've said it before but I thought it needed clarification.

Phorm use a cookie to store your Personal identification number or PIN so. blocking cookies from OIX.net (or indeed all cookies) means no PIN which means no data is collected.

So if the user sucessfully blocks the cookie from ever being stored on their system;

Does this mean that the usage data still gets sent to Phorm, but with no user ID number (i.e. truly anonymous for us, and next-to-useless to them)?
-or- does it mean that because there is no ID number, NO data gets sent to Phorm?
-or- does it mean that the usage data just gets sent with some other unique identifier supplied by the ISP instead?(perhaps something related to your physical cable line on the UBR)

Also, isn't it likely that if too many people take a dislike to this system and block the cookie by it's domain (e.g. in their router) then it's quick and simple enough for VM or Phorm to quietly change the domain of the data collection part of the system without telling us, thus bypassing the block?

I guess until someone tells us how this system will actually work (technically, not the vague, infantile rubbish in the FAQ on the Webwise site) then nobody will know whether their attempts to protect their privacy are working or not...

Joxer 21-02-2008 23:07

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Also, isn't it likely that if too many people take a dislike to this system and block the cookie
No most people will be unaware of it.

Quote:

it's quick and simple enough for VM or Phorm to quietly change the domain of the data collection part of the system without telling us, thus bypassing the block?
The process is audited by a fairly reputable firm.

Quote:

technically, not the vague, infantile rubbish in the FAQ on the Webwise site
It is unlikely since this would be fairly commercially sensitive information.

MovedGoalPosts 22-02-2008 00:05

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joxer (Post 34493513)
The process is audited by a fairly reputable
firm.

Since when die Ernst & Young, a firm of accountants get known for their technical expertise in IT :confused:

---------- Post added at 23:05 ---------- Previous post was at 23:03 ----------

The only people I might trust, and even then with some reservations given recent debacles, would be OFCOM or the Information Commissioner's Office verifiying that this procedure did in fact meet the requirements of various legislation and also verifying that my anonymity was utterly guaranteed.

Traduk 22-02-2008 03:16

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Unfortunately the Phorm technique for acquiring information to supply targeted ads appears to go way beyond the "AOL privacy violation" debacle.

On their OIX site (open internet exchange) they claim to be able to use "behavioural keywords" derived, over time, from a combination of search terms, URL's and even contextual page analysis.

Forget about cookies which I think is a smokescreen and think of what is needed to gain that information and although it falls way short of a keylogger it has what was searched for, what URL's were visited and what pages were viewed. Spying is the only term for what is intended.

They cannot do what they offer ISP's without a major infringement on the privacy of the client base. They will and must spy on users and the the AOL debacle shows that anonymity via a random number is no surety of anonymity.

If I was with one of the ISP's that has apparently expressed an interest then I would have no cause for complaint because they offer me ADSL for free. IMO if you pay nothing then you have no real rights but I pay VM shed loads of money and I resent the thought of them charging me premium prices to spy on me for extra money.

Sirius 22-02-2008 07:50

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Traduk (Post 34493662)
Unfortunately the Porm technique for acquiring information to supply targeted ads appears to go way beyond the "AOL privacy violation" debacle.

On their OIX site (open Internet exchange) they claim to be able to use "behavioural keywords" derived, over time, from a combination of search terms, URLs and even contextual page analysis.

Forget about cookies which I think is a smokescreen and think of what is needed to gain that information and although it falls way short of a keylogger it has what was searched for, what URLs were visited and what pages were viewed. Spying is the only term for what is intended.

They cannot do what they offer Isp without a major infringement on the privacy of the client base. They will and must spy on users and the the AOL debacle shows that anonymity via a random number is no surety of anonymity.

If I was with one of the ISP's that has apparently expressed an interest then I would have no cause for complaint because they offer me ADSL for free. IMO if you pay nothing then you have no real rights but I pay VM shed loads of money and I resent the thought of them charging me premium prices to spy on me for extra money.

The way i see it is that VM will send your information to this Spyware company no matter if you have a cookie set or not. The cookie just stops you seeing the end result which is the adverts. VM in my opinion will be selling MY personal information to this Spyware company no matter what i do,

Therefor the only option should they go ahead with this is for me to dump them and go with a company not using this spyware company

popper 22-02-2008 09:29

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34493673)
The way i see it is that VM will send your information to this Spyware company no matter if you have a cookie set or not. The cookie just stops you seeing the end result which is the adverts. VM in my opinion will be selling MY personal information to this Spyware company no matter what i do,

Therefor the only option should they go ahead with this is for me to dump them and go with a company not using this spyware company

perhaps one of your better options is to bring a small claim for damages and costs to re-locate to another company that takes the legal term 'in good faith' seriously, as a last resort.

plus every single person effected, make the Data Protection Commissioner aware that Virgin Media,BT etc, intend selling its users owned private data for profit,in direct defience of the UK Data Protection Act with an official complaint, the DPC takes emails as an official notice, unlike VM now they removed that option in the T&C.

also you might not want to move for reasons beyond your control and so sending the Virgin media data protection act controller an official DPA complience Notice letter using the old registered post, removing any and all rights they may have receaved from you the owner, to export or transfer any data pertaining to you, will in effect kill any and all for sale options and far more besides (if VM want to stay UK legal).

this Virgin Media/BT/CW Phorm rootkit collaberation goes way beyond even skys legal cockup although you could be forgiven for thinking some VM T&C exec was reading skys plan to sell personal data on the open markets and they wanted in on the action to increase their personal company shares and profits.
http://www.dataprotection.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=576&m=f

Data Commissioner suspends planned legal enforcement action following Sky withdrawal of Customer Notice
http://www.dataprotection.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=575&m=f
"

Press Release


30 November 2007




Complaints about British Sky Broadcasting Group Marketing


Over the past number of days the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has received a large number of complaints in relation to a letter issued by British Sky Broadcasting Group regarding marketing preferences and an apparent alteration of the terms and conditions governing the use of personal data by British Sky Broadcasting Group. The notice is attached for information.

This unusual step is being taken in response to a notice issued by British Sky Broadcasting Group that is totally unacceptable from a data protection perspective. If implemented as outlined in their notice, a clear breach of the Data Protection Acts in this jurisdiction would result. The notice purports to provide a basis for the company to pass personal details among companies in the British Sky Broadcasting group and to other unnamed third party companies for direct marketing purposes, including by email and text message, unless the customer objects using a specified telephone number.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has been in contact with British Sky Broadcasting Group pointing out that the letter is unacceptable and has asked the company to write to all customers in receipt of the notice in the next few days to clarify the position. The company have informed this Office that the communication was not intended to alter customers marketing preferences. A pre-recorded message has been placed on the company's customer service number and it is understood that an information notice for customers will shortly be placed on their website.

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes stated that "Irish Data Protection law provides strong protection to customers in terms of the use of their data for direct marketing purposes. I am determined that people's rights in this area will be respected. My Office will be following up with British Sky Broadcasting Group in the coming days to ensure that the rights enjoyed by Irish residents under the Data Protection Acts are fully understood and respected. "
"

---------- Post added at 08:29 ---------- Previous post was at 08:04 ----------

readers might find the CAG site an intersting read and perhaps useful for any legal advice and the options available to you as a consumer under the T&Cs/DPA etc
http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...ternet-issues/

MovedGoalPosts 22-02-2008 11:12

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
The Data Protection Commissioner is the Republic of Eire body. The UK equivalent, I think is the Information Commissioner Office (ICO).

eth01 22-02-2008 12:42

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Uhhh. I can't believe this. :mad:

Traduk 22-02-2008 14:37

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Sirius,

A cookie has limited capability so I see a possible way of this working as follows. This is based on the sequence to stop logging as outlined on the third party site.

VM will most probably have scanning equipment at the UBR or next step up and all customers are switched on by default. The relevant parts in the data stream are collected and logged against a user's number with collection on by default.

The way to opt out is to have a cookie from the third party site which is switched to monitoring off. The switch off can only be achieved by having the cookie loaded on the user's machine and actively going to the site and electing to switch off. The switch off facility is almost certainly going to session only with the cookie inactive (monitoring on) unless the visit and election for off is the first act by the customer on each session start. That would entail that if someone wishes to have the scanning off for most of the time then they would have to use the third party site as a home page and switch off at every session start.

The above opt in by default pretty well ensures that 99.99% of all customers are monitored all the time. Blocking cookies would under such a method only prevent the customer from using the switch off facility and the company's involved could easily say that customers that do so are opting to refuse the use of the opt out and scoring an own goal.

Personally I am not against profiling at all and use reward cards at some stores which, for a small financial incentive, allow my purchases to be categorised into demographic and wealth classed purchase patterns. I can pick and choose when to have the cards scanned and forfeit the rewards as I wish. If however my every move in the store was monitored by someone looking over my shoulder or a deal was struck with credit card companies to gain that information without reward or choice then I would never use such store again.

My biggest fear is something that I dismissed a few years ago as being over the top is on line fraud. Amongst friends and family I now know of a rapidly growing number of people who have had thousands stolen from cards and bank accounts via fraud. On the extremely rare occasions that the culprits have been caught, the source has been somebody in a position to see and extract from data streams. There have been numerous instances, over the past few months, of data protection violations and given that Government bodies and banks are cavalier with our details are we going to let some ad sharks look over our shoulders.

RizzyKing 22-02-2008 15:15

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I am not a huge fan of cookie's and feel they are a very double edged thing. I totally disagree to HAVING to put one or another on because VM want me to be a bigger cash cow then i am now. Sorry this is not an acceptable practice and it is not as though they have offered to lower costs to the subscriber they just assume we will happily continue along as they find a new way to make more money off us.

Stuart 22-02-2008 16:46

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joxer (Post 34493513)
No most people will be unaware of it.

So, they will be spied upon in secret? It's interesting to note that if BT allowed external companies to monitor who their customers are phoning in this way, then there would probably be a mass outcry, and it would possibly be illegal.
Quote:

The process is audited by a fairly reputable firm.
Andersen Consulting were a reputable firm. They were involved in the enron scandal..


If this scheme is above board, and is going to benefit the customer in some way, why have Virgin not advertised it more widely? Why is it an opt-out system rather than opt-in (which, last time I check was a violation of the 1998 Data Protection Act which requires that user has to opt in if he wants information stored for use by marketing companies).

Before you say they haven't advertised it widely because it is a trial, that's as may be, but they went on BBC TV and announced they were doing 50 meg before they had even started large scale trials.

Mick Fisher 22-02-2008 21:59

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joxer (Post 34493463)

I'm not trying to condone the action but Virgin media is a business and has to be as competitive as possible, network upgrades have to be paid for somehow.

Thanks for the clarification. While you are at it perhaps you could explain what VM do with all the monthly subscriptions. I naively thought that some of that might be put aside for reinvestment. :confused:

eddcase 22-02-2008 22:59

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
H'ok, so it's pretty much established that this is an unpopular move by VM. Before this thread loses its legs, it needs to move on or the chance of a collective response could be lost.

Anyone have any suggestions to discourage the deal? Most customers won't want to change ISP's (that could be frying pan and fire anyway) and individual complaints are less likely to have impact :erm: .

Sirius 22-02-2008 23:37

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick Fisher (Post 34494088)
Thanks for the clarification. While you are at it perhaps you could explain what VM do with all the monthly subscriptions. I naively thought that some of that might be put aside for reinvestment. :confused:

No you and i who pay full wack are funding the "I am going to leave give me a deal types"

Mick Fisher 23-02-2008 03:57

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sirius (Post 34494134)
No you and i who pay full wack are funding the "I am going to leave give me a deal types"

Oh Yes, you are quite right of course. I forgot about that what with all this news of VM Spyware and Rootkits.

I am saddened by the news but not unduly surprised what with VM being what they are.

RizzyKing 23-02-2008 12:55

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Well way i look at it is i pay £37 a month for my internet if VM want to make money off that then they reduce my bill. I am not having any spyware on my pc so VM can make a few extra quid and i think that is what most people think.

Sirius 23-02-2008 13:39

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RizzyKing (Post 34494256)
Well way i look at it is i pay £37 a month for my internet if VM want to make money off that then they reduce my bill. I am not having any spyware on my pc so VM can make a few extra quid and i think that is what most people think.

Bang on :tu:

TehTech 23-02-2008 15:56

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RizzyKing (Post 34494256)
Well way i look at it is i pay £37 a month for my internet if VM want to make money off that then they reduce my bill. I am not having any spyware on my pc so VM can make a few extra quid and i think that is what most people think.

You hit the nail right on the head there mate!

:tu: :tu:

dav 23-02-2008 16:30

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eddcase (Post 34494123)
H'ok, so it's pretty much established that this is an unpopular move by VM. Before this thread loses its legs, it needs to move on or the chance of a collective response could be lost.

Anyone have any suggestions to discourage the deal? Most customers won't want to change ISP's (that could be frying pan and fire anyway) and individual complaints are less likely to have impact :erm: .

Are there likely to be any representations made to VM by the Cable Forum team?

I'm sure that comprehensive community support for the rejection of this idea would carry some weight, especially in light of the poll results so far.

Actually I'm not so sure, but you have to live in hope, don't you:)

Traduk 23-02-2008 16:46

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
RizzyKing,

I agree with your sentiment inasmuch as I pay £37 a month for a service which is mostly not worth the cost. I strongly object to being profiled for another chunk of profits for VM when they cannot even supply the base product properly.

You need not worry about spyware as according to "paidcontent:UK" it is a back end scanner located within ISP's. It will extract data from the data stream, allocate it to an anonymous number and profile that individual. All of the surfing habits from your IP will be captured and as that information is potentially of interest to many more people than advertisers we will all have to hope that there is no cloned modem on our IP and that we are not one of tens of thousands who have visitors on unsecured wireless routers.

I am normally not given to paranoia but when yesterday it was announced that for air travel within the UK that the government will require mobile phone numbers and credit card details for profiling purposes I am starting to seriously wonder what happened to trust and privacy. I really do think that this supposed ad tool has real potential to scan for "persons of interest" and that will not have escaped the attention of the paranoid ones in power.

How ironic that a few years ago communications interceptions were only granted by judges with belief of due cause and to organisations bound by the official secrets act. Now ISP's can intercept communications to pass on information for 30 pieces of silver.

TehTech 23-02-2008 17:20

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Traduk (Post 34494339)
RizzyKing,

I agree with your sentiment inasmuch as I pay £37 a month for a service which is mostly not worth the cost. I strongly object to being profiled for another chunk of profits for VM when they cannot even supply the base product properly.

You need not worry about spyware as according to "paidcontent:UK" it is a back end scanner located within ISP's. It will extract data from the data stream, allocate it to an anonymous number and profile that individual. All of the surfing habits from your IP will be captured and as that information is potentially of interest to many more people than advertisers we will all have to hope that there is no cloned modem on our IP and that we are not one of tens of thousands who have visitors on unsecured wireless routers.

I am normally not given to paranoia but when yesterday it was announced that for air travel within the UK that the government will require mobile phone numbers and credit card details for profiling purposes I am starting to seriously wonder what happened to trust and privacy. I really do think that this supposed ad tool has real potential to scan for "persons of interest" and that will not have escaped the attention of the paranoid ones in power.

How ironic that a few years ago communications interceptions were only granted by judges with belief of due cause and to organisations bound by the official secrets act. Now ISP's can intercept communications to pass on information for 30 pieces of silver.


The thing Is, what can WE, the paying customers do about all this anti-privacy nonesence?

I would've thought that the best way to save money in ANY business would be to somehow get the top dogs (that sit on their fat asses smoking all day) to take a pay reduction, how is such a high salary justified, what, just cos of the title (MD, snr manager etc) just like with the govenment, they get paid obscene amounts to screw up this country, IF they was forced to take a 10% pay decrease, just think how much more money woulod be availible for ESSENTIALS, such as schools, hospitals etc, but that is gettin slightly off-topic!

IF & WHEN this becomes policy, I will give VM 2 choices, STOP monitoring my internet usage OR lose my custom & incur a visit to the small claims court!

eddcase 24-02-2008 11:26

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dav (Post 34494334)
Are there likely to be any representations made to VM by the Cable Forum team?

Good question? The OP was an admin and 5 other admins have joined in the debate. Seems an ideal opportunity for the forum to represent users/customers.

MovedGoalPosts 24-02-2008 13:08

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
There have been representations made, which has resulted in the specific update posts #77 and #102. If we hear of further developments these too will get reported although at present everything to do with this is based on very little solid information with neither Virgin or Phorm providing any real idea of when they intend this to start, or how it would work. Rest assured however that thread's like this, here and indeed on other forum's do, as a whole come to the attention of people at VM, where the strength of feeling being expressed can have an effect.

dav 24-02-2008 14:19

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
I hadn't realised Mick had contacted VM with his Cable Forum hat on, I had assumed it was as a disgruntled downtrodden VM customer.

Fair do's to the team. Keep up the good work:tu:

Sirius 24-02-2008 16:19

Re: Virgin Media Ad Deal [Updated: See Post No. 77 & 102]
 
What is most shocking is that there are now 11 users who have voted they dont mind there data being sold to Phorm. :shocked:


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