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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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  • by Daimanta (1140543) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @05:43PM (#27604701) Journal

    But first there is a need for people:

    Read this thread down and comment on this one

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1199671&cid=27586613 [slashdot.org]

    If you are connected with BT please try some of these suggestions and see if it is possible to locate the IP addresses of Phorm. It is important that we stop this menace(or at least do what we can) before it spreads to other ISPs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:48PM (#27605311)

    If you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phorm_cookie_diagram.png , they are lying to the customer by claiming that a website has moved when it hasn't. As a website owner, I should be able to sue them if I have proof of such a fraudulent redirection. Why would opt-out be necessary or advisable under these circumstances?

  • May be copyvio too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:51PM (#27605341) Homepage

    Any content that is distributed under any of the Creative Commons NC licenses (e.g. cc-sa-nc [creativecommons.org] cannot legally used for advertising purposes. The very similar license under which the Grateful Dead allow redistribution [cnet.com] of their old concert recordings explicitly lists advertising and "exploiting databases compiled from their traffic" as forbidden.

  • Re:The official post (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OldakQuill (1045966) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:18PM (#27605635)

    The BBC can't opt-out at the moment. It seems that major sites which do opt-out at the moment make news (including headlines at http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk]). It'd be quite reflexive for the BBC to opt-out from a scheme run by a major UK telecommunications company and to report it on their news website, since that is a major source of their web traffic. The BBC News website itself would be making the news by undermining BT's scheme on the grounds of privacy invasion. When enough sites have opted-out for it to be non-news, they could do it.

    Also, the BBC and BT have to work with each other on things like iPlayer, the online television/radio delivery platform. Perhaps the BBC are avoiding opting-out on these grounds too.

    Then again, since the BBC has a special place in the UK regarding license fee and lack of advertising, perhaps they were opted-out of the scheme from the beginning.

  • by tomtomtom (580791) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:29PM (#27605759)

    ... intercepting and replacing the adverts on a page is tantamount to theft of advertising revenue ...

    Not that I want to be seen to defend Phorm, but that's just not what their system does.

    To be fair to you, some of the original secret trials did include nasty rewriting of web pages to include their ads but they pretty quickly dropped this (I suspect more because it didn't work well enough than for any moral or legal reason given their dubious track record and the previous lives of the individuals behind Phorm).

    Phorm monitors your general web usage using Deep Packet Inspection at the ISP level, even and especially on sites which have never signed up with (or even heard of) Phorm, in order to build up a behavioural profile of you. They then use this to serve you targeted ads when you browse to a site which is signed up to their ad hosting service.

    What's more, they decided to not only track what sites you visit, but do keyword analysis of the content of the pages served to you by third parties. They claim this data is anonymized but we all know that in reality you could probably identify any given user from the data they collect with >50% probability as recent studies on anonymized data sets have shown.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:44PM (#27606451)

    "Numerous studies have shown that people are lazy and won't even do things that are in their best interest if they have to exert even minimal effort. That's why opt-out is so successful."

    Or because opt-out is a fraudulent scam. We've got ten thousand and one things to keep track of for real life, and I don't see why we should have to keep track of opt-out status for every pissant website.

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