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Phorm "Edited and Approved" UK Government Advice 126

Barence was one of several readers to send in word that the UK Home Office checked whether its interpretation of the law suited Phorm, before issuing advice on the legality of the controversial advertising service. The Home Office and Phorm entered a dialogue about the company's services back in August 2007, at Phorm's request. In an email sent to Phorm in January 2008, a Home Office official writes: 'I should be grateful if you would review the attached document, and let me know what you think.' After Phorm made deletions and amendments to the document, the Home Office sent another email to the company stating: 'If we agree this, and this becomes our position do you think your clients and their prospective partners will be comforted.' From the BBC: "Baroness Sue Miller, Liberal Democrat spokeswoman on Home Affairs, told BBC News: 'My jaw dropped when I saw the Freedom of Information exchanges. ... Anything the Home Office now says about Phorm is completely tainted.'"
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Phorm "Edited and Approved" UK Government Advice

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  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @04:25PM (#27750259) Homepage

    If you want an ad-driven Internet, this is the sort of arrangement you are going to get.

    The idea that a company shouldn't sell advertising that is specifically designed to raid one web sitefor the benefit of another is silly. Advertisers are going to do whatever they can to sell ads. We've gone way beyond selling banner ad space. Now you get advertising that is designed for specific customers at specific times.

    I'd guess the next big thing will be something like ISP-inserted ads so if you type it pops up an ad for Newegg. Or, when you do do a search on a CNN site that you get a popup for an item at Sears related to whatever you were searching for on CNN. Advertising that is "relevent" but has nothing what so ever to do with the web site you were on - just related to what you were typing or clicking on.

    How about a system that takes whatever you were doing on the web and has a telemarketer call you about a related product immediately?

    We've just begun down the road of an ad-supported society. One where everything seems to be free, except somehow people are paying for all the advertising. Maybe individual people will be able to rent out product referrals, so you get paid every time you say "Coke". Can you imagine a conversation between two people, one getting paid to say "Coke" and the other getting paid to say "Pepsi"? How about displaying your sponsorship with logoware? You know, a hat with a Nike logo and a shirt with a Reebok logo?

    Fantasy? I doubt it. The more people think they want stuff for free and keep on showing their desire for free stuff to marketers, the more "free", ad-supported stuff there will be. And the bigger Google grows the more it convinces people that they too can make money by selling ad space.

  • by jDeepbeep ( 913892 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @05:00PM (#27750987)

    I feel a little dirty every time I parade around in branded clothes.

    As do I. This is why I have a seam-ripper sewing tool and carefully remove all alligators and these types of things. It's not as involved as one might think.

  • by vivaelamor ( 1418031 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @06:05PM (#27752083)

    Please note that we did not elect the current cabinet, they took control when Tony Blair stepped down. The phrase 'from frying pan into fire' springs to mind.

    Also note that previous to Tony Blair we had endured Margaret Thatcher followed by John Major. Margaret was a strong leader but for every great idea she had there was another completely idiotic one. John Major was about as useful as Gordon Brown but probably a more honorable person. So understand that Tony Blair was set up to win because the country was fed up with the Tories and Labour was all shiny and new at that time.

    Had there been a short stay in power by the Tories instead of Thatcher's long reign then the Lib Dems may have had the chance to take advantage of a confidence drain on both parties. In a two party system the longer a party is in power the more confidence can grow in the opposition despite previous failure (people's memories are short in the grand scheme of things).

    As it is now we are looking like this pendulum is due for another swing and the Tories will get a turn. If they can stay in power long enough for people to forget what bloody idiots Labour were then the trend will probably continue for a long while yet.

    Of course all this momentum tends to ignore the actual people in the parties.. the power of the party names is such that the actual politicians might not even be significant enough an issue to change things.

    This swinging two party system we're stuck in isn't something easy to cure but it is something that you can effect by having a better system for the democratic process. Unfortunately most of the measures that would effect it would have to come from the politicians stuck in the system.

    In conclusion, most of what we get from government is down to chance more than choice and until we can nudge the pendulum in the right way at the right time this farce is set to continue for many years to come.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @06:39PM (#27752537) Journal
    My guess is that Phorm promised the UK government that they would provide the Internet tracking data that the government wants. They will be able to track users in a way not possible by ISPs since Phorm's cookies will allow them to identify individual PCs behind NAT routers.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll