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Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]
View Poll Results: Will you be opting out of the Virgin Ad Deal?
Yes, Definitely. 958 95.51%
No, I am quite happy to share my surfing habits with anyone. 45 4.49%
Voters: 1003. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 20-03-2008, 23:37   #1561
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHanff View Post
Blogtastic article by Sophos:

http://www.sophos.com/security/blog/2008/03/1187.html

Alexander Hanff
Good stuff! I like the bit about

"A worrying thing is that the information of every single page visited by the end user is accessed, inspected and classified by Phorm and the user’s browsing habits are tracked. Although Kent Ertegrul claims that no information is stored that is clearly not true.

[we know that] Cookies can be, with some effort, tracked to a particular browser (on a particular machine) and even to the actual user (or user’s ISP account) if the ISP’s systems get compromised. What disturbs even more is the fact that some trials have allegedly been conducted without the consent of end users during June 2007. This is a significant privacy problem, although not much worse than privacy leaks we are exposed to while browsing sites like Google or Amazon. This comes down to the question of trust. I will be more inclined to trust companies with good reputation such as Amazon than companies like Phorm whose practices are somewhat questionable and whose previous products included potentially unwanted applications."

brackets and emboldening are mine.

As an IT professional of 13 years experience, Sophos' word carries a lot of clout. A lot more than any number of PR people Phorm may decide to employ.
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Old 20-03-2008, 23:58   #1562
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobbydaler View Post
You can add a link to badphorm by using the following in your sig:

Code:
{URL="http://www.badphorm.co.uk"}[img](imageshack jpg url)[/img]{/URL}
Replace the { } with [ ]

e.g.

Scrub that for CF, html code not allowed in sigs on this board unfortunately...
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Old 21-03-2008, 00:03   #1563
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Birmingham Post article:
http://www.birminghampost.net/birmin...5233-20637539/

Here is my email to the author:

Hi Chris,

First I wanted to thank you for bringing this story to the people of Birmingham (and your internet readership of course), it is a vital issue of civil liberties that everyone should be made aware of.

However, whereas the article was quite amusing and light reading (which is a good thing given the week we have had) it did fail to mention some critical points which your readership should know about.

Firstly, given the situation with regards to Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and unlawful interception of communications, I feel it is of critical importance your readers should be aware of how Phorm stands with regards to RIPA. RIPA states very clearly that all parties in a communication must give their consent before interception of a communication is lawful. In the case of someone browsing the Internet, this would include the person doing the browsing and the organisation or individual (publisher) who's web site is being read. That said, this system could never be legal as current UK law stands and in fact would be a criminal offence.

This leads us on to the serious implications this has for users who "Opt In" by accepting new Terms and Conditions. Since it would be a criminal offence to intercept the communication without the consent of the "publisher" if a customer was to initiate a communication with a website that has not given it's consent to the interception, they could be liable for criminal action as they may be classed as complicit for initiating a communication they know is going to be intercepted (illegally).

Furthermore, it is in the interests of your readers to note that the government think tank for policy on privacy (Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR)) have stated in an Open Letter to the Information Commissioner that this technology is illegal in the UK under RIPA.

I think it is also in the interests of your readers to know that BT secretly trialled this technology in June 2007 without even attempting to obtain consent and when questions were asked when people noticed strange behaviours with their Internet connections, BT categorically denied any responsibility and advised their customers it must be spyware. In documents leaked from BT this week and a subsequent statement from BT, it has been confirmed that this secret test was actually being carried out. This raises very serious concerns into whether or not BT acted in a criminal fashion under RIPA. At face value it would seem that this is in fact the case given that even the non-authoritative response from the Home Office last week (which has been heavily criticised for being inaccurate in its interpretation of consent on behalf of the "publisher") clearly states that consent must be sought in order for the interception to be lawful. Again this is reiterated by FIPR.

If this is the case (which I firmly believe it is) then we have a clear example of why we need to protect these liberties in the first place. If criminal law is not enough to stop a corporation which in reality has enough money to pay for top legal advice, then where does this betrayal of our privacy rights end? Lets not forget this is also a Human Rights issue given our rights to privacy in our private lives and communications.

Some more sinister consequences of this system with regards to shared computers are outlined below.

One example is domestic abuse. Say for example a female victim of domestic abuse is searching for support groups or information about leaving her husband/partner and this happens to get picked up by the profiler because the sites she is looking at are not on the "blacklist". She spends several days doing this whilst her husband/partner is at work, then one night he logs on and starts browsing the net. He happens upon a site which is using the OIX advertising platform and sees ads related to his partner's/wife's recent browsing habits. We could potentially see tragic consequences, even deaths as a result of severe violent reactions to the discovery.

Other examples are child abuse victims, people with medical conditions they have kept hidden from the family etc. Even less "serious" scenarios where one's partner is looking for a birthday gift for you and you happen to use the computer after a profile has been built up could lead to upsetting consequences.

There is a lot that really doesn't seem to have been thought of when assessing the impact this technology could have on the more vulnerable members of our society and it simply must be stopped at all costs.

In closing, I thank you again for bringing this issue to the people of Birmingham and hope you consider the points I have raised above for any future article you choose to write on this issue.

Sincerely,

Alexander Hanff
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Old 21-03-2008, 00:09   #1564
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark777 View Post
Is there a simple web page anywhere that explains the key issues and what people should do about it?
Apart from Virgin's own? Well, if you start from the beginning, this thread explains it pretty well. Yes, I know that is now a lot of reading...but we, the regulars, can't overemphasise the importance of the issue. Your best bet is to tell your more technically-minded colleagues (particularly anyone who's savvy with networks and communications) about this thread; they can then pick out the tech bits and clarify where necessary. Also point them in the direction of The Register.

One key point, though is that the supposed benefits and security offered by the Webwise system simply aren't needed - IE7 and/or Firefox, plus antivirus/firewall software, are quite capable of providing protection from phishing scams, spyware and the like. You don't even need to be a techie; Firefox blocks ads by default, and you can tweak it as much as you like. There has to be someone who actually likes ads, I suppose...

Beating phishing scams re bank details is easy - you don't need any software. All you need do is remember two very simple rules:

1) Your own bank will not, under any circumstances, send you any unsolicited email. EVER. Any email you receive from your bank will either be sent by secure email - especially if you sent them a secure email in the first place - or it will be in direct response to an email you sent. But they're far more likely to simply phone or write to you. They do not, EVER, ask you to "confirm" your details via email, secure or not - at least my own bank (Barclays) don't. I asked about that the first time I received one of these emails, suspecting from the slightly odd phraseology that English wasn't the first language of whoever had sent it; a manager at my local branch confirmed their policy re unsolicited emails, i.e. they never ever send them.

2) Any email you receive from any bank with whom you have no dealings can be safely deleted, unread. If you're not one of their customers, the email is definitely a phishing attempt. Just delete it or forward it to the bank in question; Barclays, for example, have an email address for that specific purpose, and I don't doubt others do as well.

Where in those rules did I mention Webwise? Oh, that's right, I didn't.

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Old 21-03-2008, 03:54   #1565
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

LOL, i like that
http://understrictembargo.wordpress....-of-pr-crisis/
"
The Phorm Comms Team are none other than Citigate Drewe Rogerson.

So that’s not ‘Comms’ as an internet techie would understand it :-)

They have been assiduous in spinning round the tech forums trying as hard as they can to get the toothpaste back into the tube; and to an extent the tech forums have fallen into the trap of seeking technical knowledge about how Phorm is supposed to work.

Which is kind of like a French aristocrat debating the finer points of how the guillotine works with his executioner; it doesn’t matter how good it is or isn’t, it’s something you don’t want anywhere near your neck….

But I’m surprised the Phorm Tech/Comms/PR Team tipped up here; like ‘never kid a kidder’, I’ve always assumed you should ‘never spin a spinner’

Comment by Midnight_Voice March 20, 2008 @ 8:45 pm "

---------- Post added at 02:40 ---------- Previous post was at 01:38 ----------

, Charles Arthur is Simon Davies PR man of the hour, bless him.
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technolo..._on_phorm.html
"
Simon Davies (of Privacy International, and 80/20 Thinking) on Phorm

The founder of Privacy International responds to criticisms of his role in Phorm's present publicity.
March 20, 2008 10:50 PM


The following comments come from Simon Davies, the lecturer at the LSE who has been a vocal critic of the government's plans for ID cards (earning the ire of ministers) and is a founder of Privacy International. He actually posted this comment elsewhere on the blog; we thought it deserved a more visible posting.
He writes:

....
"

---------- Post added at 03:54 ---------- Previous post was at 02:40 ----------

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2008...#comment-43815

at least two comments awaiting moderation so you might not see them (yet).
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Old 21-03-2008, 08:17   #1566
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobbydaler View Post
Scrub that for CF, html code not allowed in sigs on this board unfortunately...
I think you mean the BBCode for IMG tags, yes they are not allowed due to previous abuse of the system, i.e with members inserting massive images. html code is not allowed for security reasons.

You can still use images in signatures - The image needs to be uploaded and then inserted into the signature. Please refer to your signature options via the Usercp. If you need any assistance, give us a shout via PM.
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Old 21-03-2008, 08:52   #1567
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobbydaler View Post
Scrub that for CF, html code not allowed in sigs on this board unfortunately...
No worries Cobby, I got the clickable siggie to work in the end :P
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Old 21-03-2008, 09:14   #1568
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by none View Post
No worries Cobby, I got the clickable siggie to work in the end :P
Ooooh! How'd you do that then?
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Old 21-03-2008, 09:21   #1569
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobbydaler View Post
Ooooh! How'd you do that then?
This is the code used

{url=www.badphorm.co.uk}{SIGPIC}{/SIGPIC}{/url}

replace {} with square brackets []


Hope that helps
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Old 21-03-2008, 10:51   #1570
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

So who else has written to their MP?

The last time I wrote to my MP was in 1967! However, this issue has wound me up more than a little.

I sent an email to my member of parliament, Dr Ian Gibson MP on the 18th Mar and received this reply on the 20th.

quote..

I agree with you that this latest development represents a serious threat to our civil liberties. I am happy to go on record as opposing this move from the internet service providers. I will also write to the Meg Hillier MP at the Home Office voicing my concerns at these latest developments and requesting that she look into the matter. I will forward any response I receive from the department as soon as I receive one.

..end quote

I not convinced it will do any good but the greater awareness of this the better.
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Old 21-03-2008, 11:31   #1571
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

I have read this read daily from its conception, with fury, interest and a certain amount of awe at the reaction from users both of BT and Virgin.
I have registered only so that I can add my support, as you have all said pretty much all that needs to be said on the matter.

as a consumer, Virgin supply my entire communications package, TV, Phone and internet. I will move if they implement this in a way that I cannot CLEARLY and TOTALLY opt OUT without recourse to cookies. In effect, make it OPT IN or lose my £85 a month.
Its MY clickstream, you ain't having it.
As a web site owner, and hoster of clients websits, I am just as concerned at the amount of work I will have to do to prevent private postings, ecommerce ordering etc from being data-mined.
Personally I may be net-savvy, but I am no way tech trained enough to make this a simple task. Nor should I have to.

when I think of 'Joe Public' including my 74 year old Mum, bless her, who has enough trouble understanding how email works, I am shocked to the core that the governent is even considering allowing this at all!
it is their job to protect the average consumer, not ours!
It is clear to me, that Phorm,and the ISP's themslves are relying on the fact that people are too niave/net smart to see this for what it really is, A MASSIVE infringement of our personal privacy.

Keep Up the good work, pass the word wherever and whenever you can, cross post and link on every forum website you belong to regardless of what that webite is about, it concerns every user of the internet, and every website owner out there.

Don't get too sidetracked by the technical issues, its fine and right to want to understand how the system will work, and how it can be circumvented, but the main issue is it shouldn't be happening AT ALL!
I realise this post repeats previous views, however, the more people that say it, the more chance we have of being heard, and actually listened to.
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Old 21-03-2008, 11:48   #1572
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrideXIII View Post
I have read this read daily from its conception, with fury, interest and a certain amount of awe at the reaction from users both of BT and Virgin.
I have registered only so that I can add my support, as you have all said pretty much all that needs to be said on the matter.

as a consumer, Virgin supply my entire communications package, TV, Phone and internet. I will move if they implement this in a way that I cannot CLEARLY and TOTALLY opt OUT without recourse to cookies. In effect, make it OPT IN or lose my £85 a month.
Its MY clickstream, you ain't having it.
As a web site owner, and hoster of clients websits, I am just as concerned at the amount of work I will have to do to prevent private postings, ecommerce ordering etc from being data-mined.
Personally I may be net-savvy, but I am no way tech trained enough to make this a simple task. Nor should I have to.

when I think of 'Joe Public' including my 74 year old Mum, bless her, who has enough trouble understanding how email works, I am shocked to the core that the governent is even considering allowing this at all!
it is their job to protect the average consumer, not ours!
It is clear to me, that Phorm,and the ISP's themslves are relying on the fact that people are too niave/net smart to see this for what it really is, A MASSIVE infringement of our personal privacy.

Keep Up the good work, pass the word wherever and whenever you can, cross post and link on every forum website you belong to regardless of what that webite is about, it concerns every user of the internet, and every website owner out there.

Don't get too sidetracked by the technical issues, its fine and right to want to understand how the system will work, and how it can be circumvented, but the main issue is it shouldn't be happening AT ALL!
I realise this post repeats previous views, however, the more people that say it, the more chance we have of being heard, and actually listened to.
Every person who registers and then posts in this thread has knocked another nail in the coffin of 121 media / Phorm

This has just been posted on the BT Phorm beta site This might relate to anyone on a BT ADSL provided service ?

Quote:
For those who have an IP blocker (e.g. PeerGuardian 2 is one that I use often) see if you get any of these following IP ranges appearing if you add them to your blocklist (all blocks will occur on port 80 so if you do use PG2, make sure HTTP is set to 'blocked' - this may cause several sites to be blocked that are not the result of blocking the BT servers, just to warn you in advance):

BT Midband Management 212.140.233.0 - 212.140.233.255
BT Midband tman 213.123.84.0 - 213.123.84.255
BT Midband BtnMidband 217.41.216.0 - 217.41.218.255

Chris Lowe

p.s. My password resets every day for some reason. While it may be a nuisance it will not deter me from participating in the forums here. Also, I would be most honoured if readers from other sites where BT & Phorm are being discussed make copies of the above IP addresses and post them on the other sites to see if anyone else is seeing what I'm seeing.
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Old 21-03-2008, 11:54   #1573
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Dont just limit the fightback to the UK. If we are truly to kill Phorms plans then we need to get the word out to friends in the US too. I am doing my best to keep american friends up to date with what is going on here and the potential implications for them when Phorm goes live there. If we can damage their plans in the US too then I think Phorms share price will fall further and they will find it harder to raise capital investment.
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Old 21-03-2008, 12:07   #1574
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

What has shocked me the most is the total news blackout that seems to be happening at Virgin Media.

Bt has made a statement on the Beta site

Quote:
Privacy: No data is passed outside of BT's network and the hardware is owned by BT. Customers choosing not to take part will not have their browsing information mirrored or profiled, and no information will go to the BT managed profiler. No information is gathered, and therefore no information is forwarded to Phorm. Customers who opt out will not come into contact with any Phorm-managed equipment. This is the very latest solution which we are developing for the up coming trial. To that end I can confirm that if you are asked to participate in the up coming trial and decide to 'opt-out' then none of your data will be processed or looked at by BT or by Phorm.
Carphone Warehouse has made a similar statement

Quote:
as far as TalkTalk is concerned, the Phorm system is never enabled until a user explicitly decides to 'opt in
Here's Virgin Media's statement about the OPT IN OPT OUT

Quote:
To reiterate, you won't be forced to use the system, and you will be given the choice to keep your internet experience exactly as it is now. As we get closer to launch we'll explain how this will work.
Webwise only replaces ads with more relevant ads, customers do not receive any more ads and certainly do not receive pop ups.
So is that an opt in or an opt out. you decide
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Old 21-03-2008, 12:07   #1575
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Re: Virgin Media Phorm Webwise Adverts [Updated: See Post No. 1, 77, 102 & 797]

Thought the Louise Story article was quite interesting in that you get a hint of how Phorm are having to sell their product to Companies in the States. As she puts it "by boasting that it will collect the most complete information of all". You can only imagine the sales pitch once everyone in the room has signed the NDA.

No company, even Microsoft, would take going head to head with Google lightly. If all Phorm have to offer customers in the end is a random number and a profile hacked together out of surfing habits they have no chance. They have to be planning to offer more. Much more. I would love to be a fly on the wall at their sales pitch especially as they get to the part titled "5 years down the line". It is clear from the patent application that they intend to offer much more than random numbers and categorized keywords.
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