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EU Investigates Phorm's UK ISP Advertising System 90

MJackson writes "The European Commission has opened an infringement proceeding against the UK after a series of complaints by Internet users, and extensive communication with UK authorities, about the use of Phorm's behavioural advertising system, which uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, by internet service providers. Phorm works with UK ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns, though its methods have raised more than a few fears about invasions of privacy. Similar services in the USA have caused an equal level of controversy."
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EU Investigates Phorm's UK ISP Advertising System

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  • Google (Score:2, Interesting)

    by b0ttle ( 1332811 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:26AM (#27571097)
    Isn't that almost what google do?
  • I wrote to my MP... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:10PM (#27571879) Homepage
    Quite some time ago, i wrote to my local MP regarding this. Specifically, I asked him to back an early day motion opposing Phorm (The Register were running the details at the time).

    He wrote back saying that many people didn't realise exactly how the system worked and that supporting this motion would do no real good, but that instead he would question the Cabinet directly. As a result, some time later I had a reply from the Cabinet Minister under whose remit this fell.

    And that reply was awful.

    Essentially it was Phorm's press release. Not even regurgitated - the documents were straight from Phorm. There was clearly no understanding from the Minister involved what was actually being proposed, and the whole attitude smacked of "there there little one, look - the nice company here has promised they're not doing anything wrong". They'd clearly never even really considered it properly. The Information Commission too was at that time pushing the notion nothing was wrong, a stance they've clearly had to back-pedal on in the face of the E.U. pressure.

    Next time I think I'll cut out the middle man and go to the Commission directly. Says nothing good about the state of our democracy, does it? An unelected quango in the Commission does the investigative work, whereas the actual democratic representatives completely ignore voter's enquiries and fob them off with press releases.

    Mind you, well done to my local MP for taking the correct action in getting me a response from literally the highest level available on the subject in the UK.

  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:38PM (#27572357) Homepage Journal

    If this ISP is doing what it does with advertising injection, are they now officially liable for any illegal content sent through it? I know it's not in the USA, but it seems to me if you have your hand in the content delivery(web data, and so forth), the ISP could be sued for pirated mp3s, illegal content, etc.

  • Re:Investigate what? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:28PM (#27574329)

    This is how the EU works.

    They create problems to which they are the solution. In this case the problem is the EU Data Retention Directive 2006. As faithful servants of the EU, the UK government have implemented this in such a way that the 'national' government looks like the bad guy. The European commission come along and say 'Now that's not very nice. We're going to use soft power on you (fines, news stories to the people so so everyone thinks yay EU, etc).

    The EU pulled the same trick countless times to grab power, most recently with the British postal service, Royal Mail. The news was full of stories about Peter Mandelson (EUrocrat) saying RM would have to be part privatised as it wasn't profitable any more, etc. The truth is quite different.

    In 1997 EU directive 97/67/EC introduced the EU-wide postal service which obviously clashes with the Royal Mail. Initially it allowed German firms TNT and DHL to cherry pick Royal Mail's profitable areas.

    Directive 2002/39/EC gave yet more of Royal Mail's profitable business to private companies, and article 14 of this directive has 2009 as the year to complete the EU wide postal service. Like clockwork Mandleson appears on the scene in 2009 to start the sell off.

    It's all a con. National identity is to be wiped out for the EUSSR to take over every country in Europe, and every national government is part of the treason.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost