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Wikipedia Opts Out Of Phorm 98

Posted by timothy
from the phorm-of-their-objection dept.
ais523 writes "Wikipedia (and other websites run by Wikimedia) have requested to opt-out from Phorm; according to the email they sent, they 'consider the scanning and profiling of our visitors' behavior by a third party to be an infringement on their privacy.'" Another reader points to this post on techblog.wikimedia.org which includes a confirmation from Phorm that those sites will be excluded.
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Wikipedia Opts Out Of Phorm

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  • The official post (Score:5, Informative)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot AT davidgerard DOT co DOT uk> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:41PM (#27604685) Homepage

    Wikimedia Tech Blog post [wikimedia.org].

    (This would have happened sooner, but Brion was snowed under.)

  • by Tribbles (218927) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:43PM (#27604707) Homepage

    It might be ignored as we (in the UK) don't spell "legitimize" with a "z" - it's legitimise here :)

  • WTF is Phorm? (Score:5, Informative)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:54PM (#27604817)

    For those of you, like me, that read TFA and the article linked from TFA and still don't know what Phorm is other than it's something that some UK ISPs are implementing and there appear to be privacy concerns, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

    In short, it's system for doing targeted advertising by deep-packet inspection.

  • by wjh31 (1372867) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:55PM (#27604843) Homepage
    aside from the whole invasion of privacy thing, people seem slightly less to pay attetion to the suggestion that intercepting and replacing the adverts on a page is tantamount to theft of advertising revenue, to the page owner for their share, to e.g google for their commision or however they work, and to the advertiser whom may otherwise have recieved an extra click through to their site
  • Re:Mental disconnect (Score:3, Informative)

    by growse (928427) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:10PM (#27604985) Homepage
    You're confusing the content and the information about the people accessing the content. If I publish a web-page, that is public (copyright me). Anyone can read it. However, what isn't public is the list of IP addresses that accessed that content. When reading a webpage, you don't get to know who else has read that webpage.

    Phorm gets to know who else read that webpage. And any other HTTP-only webpage.
  • Re:Mental disconnect (Score:5, Informative)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot AT davidgerard DOT co DOT uk> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:17PM (#27605057) Homepage
    The way they're doing it is likely illegal in the EU. The EU is actually taking Britain to court for not having prosecuted Phorm and BT already.
  • Re:Mental disconnect (Score:4, Informative)

    by hguorbray (967940) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:43PM (#27605265)

    El Reg has been covering Phorm and its existing and planned abuses for some time:

    http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=phorm [theregister.co.uk]

    unfortunately one of the Phorm directors is also in tight with the UK gov in an internet policy group
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/15/kip_meek_berr/ [theregister.co.uk]
    and they have been hard to dislodge over there, although Brussels (EU) has also taken notice
    (see parent)

    so far, they seem to have been treated with suspicion and hostility over here in the USA by everyone AFAICT, which is probably a good thing

    I'm just sayin'

  • by tomtomtom (580791) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:07PM (#27605503)

    Actually, "-ize" is absolutely not an Americanism - it is in fact correct spelling in either British or American English, whereas "-ise" is correct only in less formal British English.

    It is sad that very few of us British seem to understand our language properly; almost no one here realizes that it is actually more conservative in British English to use -ize and not -ise. For example, go and look at an older copy of the Oxford English dictionary or the Times and you will see all those words spelled "-ize". I believe that even the newer editions of the OED, despite now listing the "-ise" forms, state that "-ize" is the preferred form.

    To further complicate matters, the only words to which this rule can can apply are those which derive from Greek (and thus contain the Greek suffix "-ize" - this is the rationale for it being the more correct variant). So for example "enterprize" and "capsise" are always just wrong in either British or American English.

  • Re:The official post (Score:5, Informative)

    by brion (1316) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:08PM (#27605513) Homepage
    Those are also not actual Wikipedia content sites, but either redirects or sites of local Wikimedia chapters. All our actual content is on our own domains -- for instance German-language Wikipedia is at http://de.wikipedia.org/ [wikipedia.org] not http://wikipedia.de/ [wikipedia.de] which is a portal page maintained by Wikimedia Deutschland. (In part because German courts routinely shut wikipedia.de down in preliminary injunctions... ;)
  • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:37PM (#27606839)

    And if DNSSEC was properly implemented across the board then we wouldn't even NEED to be wary of self-signed certificates to begin with.

    If you can trust that the DNS pointed you to the right site, then you are as safe as you are using SSL.

  • Re:WTF is Phorm? (Score:4, Informative)

    by AlexanderHanff (1129649) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:39PM (#27606861)
    If you would like more information on Phorm/WebWise, NoDPI.Org has been leading the campaign against them for the past 14 months (and were co-signatories to the Open Letter). We have worked on a number of iniatives including organising the House of Lords Round Table Event which Sir Tim Berners-Lee attended on the 11th March this year. We plan to take the lobby all the way to Brussels and the campaign has already led the European Commission to initiate legal proceedings against the UK Government after they failed to enforce EU Privacy Directives with regards to Phorm's covert trials with BT Group in 2006/2007. I also filed a criminal case with the police in July last year, which they closed stating that there was no criminal intent and it was not in the public interest. As a result of this I was forced to contact the Director of Public Prosecutions and bypass the police entirely - the Crown Prosecution Service are now investigating the matter and will make a decision on whether or not to prosecute. The covert trials in 2006 alone intercepted over 130 million communications over less than 2 weeks and modified those communications to insert Javascript into web pages which passed through their systems (then known as PageSense). I leaked an internal BT report which goes into a great deal of detail about the 2006 trials to WikiLeaks last summer and I also wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the legal implications of the same covert trials.

    You can find the dissertation here: https://nodpi.org/documents/phorm_paper.pdf [nodpi.org]
    You can find the leaked report here: https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Image:BT_Report.pdf [wikileaks.org]
    And you can catch up on the entire scandal on our blog here: https://nodpi.org/ [nodpi.org]

    Hope that clarifies things for those who are not aware of who/what Phorm/WebWise are/is.

    Alexander Hanff

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne

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