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Phorm "Edited and Approved" UK Government Advice

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the odd-bedfellow dept.

Privacy 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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126 comments

Terrible summary (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749409)

What is Phorm?
What is "Home Office"?
What is the relationship between the two?

If the summary were a physical object, I'd rate it about a 3 out of 7132.

Re:Terrible summary (5, Informative)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749487)

What is Phorm?

FTA: "Phorm serves up adverts related to a user's web browsing history that it monitors by taking a copy of the places they go and search terms they look for."

What is "Home Office"?

From Wikipedia: "The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security and order."

What is the relationship between the two?

That's the thing, they shouldn't have any sort of relationship.

Re:Terrible summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750785)

Honestly, don't bother explaining to people like that. If they couldn't spend seconds to look up either, they're pathetic. If they don't know what they are, they don't have anything meaningful to contribute. Posts like "What is Phorm" should be an instant Score 0 flag for the moderators.

Phorm was last mentioned in /. on the 15th. The Home Office was last mentioned on the 13th. These posters aren't tall enough for the ride.

Re:Terrible summary (2, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27753885)

While I admire your helpfull attitude, and well crafted post, I regret to inform you: 'whoosh'.

*note the distinct lack of all caps, and no exclamation marks*

He has commented on Phorm articles before. He knows what Phorm is, but I think he was just using some form of sarcasm or something to point out bad form in the summary.

Again, no sarcasm, derision, or other negative agendas were implied, nor designed against you here.
I just 'know' this character and his sometimes 'dry wit' from past comments. :-)

BTW, welcome to /., but beware the trolls and pseudo-trolls....(he generally means well, but I am suspect of his sense of humor!-)

Home Office (0, Redundant)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749545)

For those of you that don't know what the Home Office is, here you go [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Home Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749705)

What about for those of us that are too lazy to click on your links? Can you just tell us what the Home Office is? Or can we just guess that it is more of the same bass-ackwardness that *is* Europe?

Re:Home Office (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750181)

We could help you if your only problem was laziness.

Or can we just guess that it is more of the same bass-ackwardness that *is* Europe?

Unfortunately, you are too stupid to understand even if we explained things to you in small words.

Re:Home Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27752247)

We could help you if your only problem was laziness.

LAZINESS?!?!?!?

In America, we work 40 hours a week, many of us 48-52 weeks per year. We don't have any of this "government-required five-week vacation" bullshit like in Europe. It doesn't matter to us how we feel or what we are, so long as shit gets done. The day that Europeans recognize and embrace this is the day that everybody across the pond stops thinking if you as sissy douche bags who drink cappuccino and snort about the Americans while providing nothing of value to your motherland. Thank you.

Re:Terrible summary (-1, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749581)

It doesn't matter who Phorm is. they could be bigger than Mr Newton's WORLD ENTERPRISES, or a fly-by-night dry cleaning establishment or a pizza delivery service. The point, and this is very clear in the summary, is that the Home Office was getting approval from persons outside the government for their development of policy. This may be standard practice in the USA and other third world hackeries, but in nations that at least try to pretend to be objectively subject to the rule of law, this kind of thing is considered Very Uncool.

Re:Terrible summary (0, Troll)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749711)

"This may be standard practice in the USA and other third world hackeries..."

Oops, didn't realize we had to have millions upon millions of cameras watching our every move in order to rise above being a 'hackery'. We'll get right on that.

Re:Terrible summary (0, Redundant)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749609)

According to TFS (no need to RTFA) Phorm is a "controversial advertising service" and a "company".

The Home Office is the office responsible for home affairs - I'm going to hazard a guess that it's the equivalent of the US Department of State, but I'm not sure because I've never seen a summary which mentioned the DoS explain what it is.

The relationship between them is complex, which is the whole point of the story. If you really care about details, RTFA.

Re:Terrible summary (2, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749681)

The Home Office is the office responsible for home affairs - I'm going to hazard a guess that it's the equivalent of the US Department of State,...

You picked the one Department that is least like the Home Office. The Dept. of State deals with issues external to the US. Interior, Homeland Security, Commerce, are the internal departments that are probably most like Home Office.

Re:Terrible summary (4, Insightful)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749973)

where do we start the easy one home office basically in charge of domestic matters, similar to the foreign office for non domestic matters.

Phorm...
absolutely no point me rewriting the wikipedia article so heres the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorm [wikipedia.org] .

They were a spywear company now there an advertising company that spies on an Isps customers and scrapes peoples web sites in order to sell advertising to your competitors.

As a website owner what is particularly objectionable is the scraping of your sites to sell ad space to other companies. Their bot will spider your page and ignore robots.txt unless they say you have specifically blocked google and yahoo. The critical difference between what google and yahoo does and phorm does is google and yahoo spider your site to bring your pages to the attention of people looking for what you offer. Phorm spiders your site in order to bring people to other sites which offer similar things to what you offer. Poaching your customer base in this way with your own marketing materials is well out of order.

which is perhaps one good reason why this matters if your outside of the UK but with a UK customer base.

Re:Terrible summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750235)

Please don't ever type another word. My eyes and brain are crying out from trying to decipher your atrocious spelling and grammar. Absolutely disgusting.

Re:Terrible summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750761)

Please don't ever comment again. Did you really have trouble reading that guy's comment, or are you being retarded for funzies? Smeg off.

Re:Terrible summary - terrible post. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751153)

You should see me post on a bad day (seriously). 2 spelling mistakes that I'm aware of or should that be "awear off" plus I owe you two '' and a handful of Capital Letters GYPGYP.

  You may have heard of Subject Verb Object, "Absolutely disgusting", does not make a sentence. I can only suppose that you were referring to Phorms' questionable marketing practices, in which case we are in agreement.

Re:Terrible summary (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27753091)

They were a spywear company now there an advertising company that spies on an Isps customers and scrapes peoples web sites in order to sell advertising to your competitors.

I.E. they just got better at being a spyware company.

Same end result, regardless of the method.

Re:Terrible summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750173)

Porn.

You bunch of lazy fucktards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27752391)

This is not just in response to BadAnalogyGuy's post but all the whiny bitchy "oh what's this, I've never heard of this before, I'm going to complain on the board! waah! waah! waah!"

Here's a clue for you, the world does not revolve around America - take your fat fingers out of your fat lazy asses and type the word Phorm into Google.

Impressive... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749437)

That, kids, is what regulatory capture looks like. More specifically, that is what public sector big brother and private sector big brother sharing a big sloppy kiss looks like. Pathetic.

Re:Impressive... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749657)

I have conflicting feelings about this. I am all for free speech and I love games that try and tell a story. I get honoring our sons who fight in war with a medium that they enjoy. In this case, however, I'm wondering if it's the proper time for something like this. It almost seems tacky to create a game based on the battles of soldiers who are still around and still fighting.

I know that we have world war 2 games and vietnam games, but those conflicts are over with and done with. There are soldiers still over there fighting these battles and maybe that's why i feel this decision by Konami might be on okay thing. I don't agree with making movies about a war during the time of war, either. I feel there is a time and place, and normally these things should be at least a decade after the conflict has ended.

I know we didn't have that long after vietnam ended, and it seems more and more studios try and push out content based on our wars faster and faster. I know I don't feel right about this, I think people like fuzzyfuzzyfaggot [slashdot.org] should be able to come back and have time to heal before being bombarded with war movies and war games based on what they did.

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750109)

And this has what to do with Phorm?

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750487)

The article you're trying to comment on is over there:

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/27/2317203

Re:Impressive... (5, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749765)

Even more accurately, this is what it looks like when a Director of a private sector company also works in the public sector. For the very ministry responsible for regulating the company he sits on the board of.

It's not so much the fox guarding the hen-house as it is the fox being awarded an exclusive construction contract for every hen-house in the country.

Re:Impressive... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27753937)

It's not so much the fox guarding the hen-house as it is the fox being awarded an exclusive construction contract for every hen-house in the country.

That is one of the better analogies I've seen here. Very well done!
Who cares 'who' is guarding the hen-house when you design/control/manage all of the 'secret/hidden passage ways'.

Indeed.

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749833)

Oh man, I think I read some yaoi about this. Post pics if you've got 'em.

Re:Impressive... (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749971)

I can't believe that you'd try and imply that the two entities are incestual and "gay"!

Actually, no wait, that sounds about right...

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27751613)

Mmmmmm...

TWINS!

It's about tracking Internet activity (2, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#27752537)

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.

Phorm? (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749443)

Am I the only one who has no idea who or what Phorm is?

For everyone else like me, a quick google search tells me that it is a company that makes advertising software that borders on spyware. I think the UK's argument that Phorm is okay since it can be used in a legal is entertaining. Sounds like the exact opposite argument that the same politicians probably used to shutdown P2P services.

Ahhh, corruption. Where would democracy be without it?

Re:Phorm? (0, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749477)

Ahhh, corruption. Where would democracy be without it?

It would be with communism. That's the reason for fighting communism; it's not consistent with corruption.

Re:Phorm? (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749577)

That's right, the USSR was a ethical paragon & never, ever suffered from corruption. Same with Argentina.

Re:Phorm? (2)

moranar (632206) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749817)

What's Argentina got to do with this? We've not had a communist government ever. The current administration is as corrupt as they come, as populist, demagogic and disgusting as it can be, but not communist by any rational definition.

Re:Phorm? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750659)

Oops. You're right of course.

Argentina, Venezuela, they have the same number of syllables at least.

Re:Phorm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27752077)

ar-gen-ti-na: 4
ve-ne-zu-e-la: 5 :-)

Re:Phorm? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27752533)

Your "zu-e-la" is actually only two syllables.

Re:Phorm? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27754375)

Ve-ne-zue-la

Ar-gen-ti-na

They each have 4 syllables.

Good try though!! A little more attention to detail and you'll be mocking people without making a fool of yourself in no time! ;)

Re:Phorm? (2, Insightful)

averner (1341263) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749943)

USSR wasn't Communist. Nothing resembling a true Communist country exists in the modern world; just because a country calls itself Communist does not make it so. North Korea officially calls itself a "Democratic People's Republic" - that doesn't make it Democratic either.

Re:Phorm? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750723)

Oh ok, so a theoretical communist government has 0 corruption. Right. As these things go, that's an awful small test group.

-backs away slowly, smiling.

Re:Phorm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750057)

slightly offtopic: notice he said "communism" not "Communism" the lower case refers to the theory rather than the uppercase which refers to the practice thereof. for that matter "democracy" is not what exists in the free world, rather "Democracy" which in the US shows itself more as a Republic.

Re:Phorm? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750741)

Not Democracy Mr. AC, it's a democratic republic & has never claimed to be anything else.

Re:Phorm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749593)

That's the reason for fighting communism; it's not consistent with corruption.

History has shown that practice does not equal theory.

Re:Phorm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749949)

Yes, you are. RTFA, paragraph 11:

Phorm serves up adverts related to a user's web browsing history that it monitors by taking a copy of the places they go and search terms they look for. Adverts related to that history are put on any websites that have signed up to use Phorm.

Reading is fun!

Re:Phorm? (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751797)

Am I the only one who has no idea who or what Phorm is?

For everyone else like me, a quick google search tells me that it is a company that makes advertising software that borders on spyware.

They became famous for illegally wiretapping the internet connections of BT broadband customers and using the information thus gleaned to decide which adverts to serve to whom.

Re:Phorm? (2, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27754101)

Well, not the only one. You may be in the minority, though.

It has appeared as article material [slashdot.org] here on /. before. [slashdot.org]

I do notice that I'm developing a tendency to think 'where have you been?' lately when I see a question like yours.
I try not to actually voice that thought, as I realise that I have been off work recovering from surgery for a while(way too long!), and forget I spend far too much time here. :-)

Please accept my apologies if I started off as being harsh.

Crap! (2, Insightful)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749465)

How are we sopposed to threaten to move to another country if they all suck?

Where's our cheap space travel? Oh, and somewhere to travel to.

Re:Crap! (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#27752505)

Canada: Pssst .... up here.

To quote the Arrogant worms: "We won't say that we're better ... it's just that we're less worse"

Re:Crap! (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 4 years ago | (#27753897)

Yeah, I'm going to start looking up there in a month.
If my vote doesn't count here, Might as well move up North where they at least have a semblance of national healthcare. If they would ban CNN and Fox up there, I may not even bother packing or finding a job, I'll just go.

Yep (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749479)

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.*

Specifically, this one [slashdot.org] . A quick quote from the relevant bit:

" ... 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."

Was clear that the ministerial office and Phorm were either working rather more closely than they let on, or that the Minister in question had no clue and simply took everything on trust from Phorm.

Cheers,
Ian

*A UK Parliamentary phrase, for those that don't recognise it.

Phorm? (Socre:4, Insidious) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749761)

Am I the only one who has no idea who or what Phorm is?

For everyone else like me, a quick google search tells me absolutely nothing valuable pertaining to 'Phorm.'

Re:Phorm? (Socre:4, Insidious) (2, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751453)

Google hit number 1 is the company itself.

Google hit number 2 is Wikipedia, which explains it as well as anyone could have done in the summary.

Then there are links to news articles, explaining recent controversy over it.

I know that RTFA (which would also have answered your question) is unfashionable here on Slashdot, but I'm wondering what your problem was with this Google search...

Re:Phorm? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#27753439)

"It's mine - you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree, I have to understand what I'm getting in return." - Sir Tim Berners-Lee, in response to the subject of Phorm collecting his browsing history (from the highly informative Wiki article referenced above - thanks!).

I have to agree with Sir Tim here. Although my personal approach to cookies is to ensure any unencrypted references to my email address are swapped for info@telemarketing.com, lazy sod that I am, I am also concerned that the technically non-astute users of the web (perhaps most of them) need some defense against this. Expecting them to know how to defeat having their every move tracked is unrealistic, and saying they deserve what they get for being uninformed would not be helpful. Is there anything we can do about this -- perhaps by enacting legislation across the areas where we have some jurisdiction, or is the genie totally out of the bottle with regard to privacy? If the latter, expect an increase in the population of Amish (or some sort of New Amish) as more people opt out of having their every move analysed on a global scale.

Re:Yep (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#27752065)

I regretfully inform you that all communication with Honorable gentlemen should consist soley of cheers OR jeers , any dialogue that a child aged 10 isn't capable off understanding would require the Honorable [google.co.uk] gentleman to actually engage his brain more than 30% of the time and this is an unneeded stress and will soon be outlawed all together.

I'll say it again... (3)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749547)

... goosestepping towards fascism.

Re:I'll say it again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27751165)

... goosestepping towards fascism.

"Goosestepping?"

More like gleefully parading toward with a corporate band marching right behind...

Re:I'll say it again... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27751989)

A goose step is a military parade marching style. I don't know if I'd call it gleeful, but by and large you seem to be describing the same thing.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (4, Informative)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749559)

One of the good guys. The voting record http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/baroness_miller_of_chilthorne_domer [theyworkforyou.com] Baroness Miller http://suemiller.org.uk/ [suemiller.org.uk]

Re:Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749733)

"Has used three-word alliterative phrases (e.g. "she sells seashells") 612 times in debates -- well above average amongst Lords."

Shocking!

Re:Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (1)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 4 years ago | (#27752331)

I emailed her a few days ago regarding a similar issue, she responded within 3 hours. Her voting record is good and I'm really impressed, first response I've got out of the House of Lords

The emails in question (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749735)

The Home Office's response can be viewed here [whatdotheyknow.com] .

Chilling (1, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749763)

This makes me feel sick. If only more Sue Millers were elected...

Re:Chilling (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749997)

The irony of it is that as she's a peer in the house of Lords, she's one of the ones that isn't actually elected to her position ;)

Perhaps this whole democracy thing is actually the problem ;)

Re:Chilling (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27752279)

"The greatest argument against democracy is a five minute chat with the average voter" - Churchill

Grow a Pair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750237)

It's time the UK grew a pair. It seems they bend over for most anyone these days.

About par for the course (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750259)

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 www.tigerdirect.com 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.

Re:About par for the course (1)

dwhitaker (1500855) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750679)

How about displaying your sponsorship with logoware? You know, a hat with a Nike logo and a shirt with a Reebok logo?

I think we're already there. Maybe not so much from "fashionable" brands, but as a college student I find myself in position of a lot of freebies - shirts, bags, etc. Even though I am not being paid to wear them, I still receive compensation, namely the item itself. I have shirts for apartment complexes I don't live at, but who cares? I still wear them when I go to the store.

Re:About par for the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750835)

There are reasonably effective protocols that prevent this sort of mockery from happening to your on-line banking website. If needed, every website can decide to use the same tools.

Re:About par for the course (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750863)

The day I get paid to wear Gucci, Polo or other brands where 50% of the price comes from the logo on the shirt is the day I'll actually wear it. In the meantime, I feel a little dirty every time I parade around in branded clothes.

Re:About par for the course (3, Interesting)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:About par for the course (3, Informative)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751129)

The "Home Office", is interested in Phorm because the current mentally retarded government can see the potential of the system. Today it's re-writing web pages replacing adverts for their own on-the-fly, tomorrow it's re-writing whole web pages by government edict to write the gospel according to the government.

Re:About par for the course (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751563)

Charter.net actually was planning the ISP level ads.. however, they backed down after a shit-storm of controversy.

Re:About par for the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27754269)

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

Wait! The internet has ads on it??

Can't remember seeing one.

Get the "Phacts"! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750367)

Phorm should already be a slashdot meme, they're a psychopathic pastiche of "Get the Facts" era Microsoft and SCO.

http://www.stopphoulplay.com/ [stopphoulplay.com]

The CEO is a spyware peddler who doth protest too much about "protecting privacy". Well beyond parody, this is A-grade comedy for geeks.

Re:Get the "Phacts"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27751017)

I honestly thought this website was parody until I did a whois lookup on the domain name.

Re:Get the "Phacts"! (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751475)

I love how any who protests their spyware/adware is a privacy "pirate". What the fuck does that even mean?

Re:Get the "Phacts"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27752671)

I love how any who protests their spyware/adware is a privacy "pirate". What the fuck does that even mean?

It's a lame attempt to to poison the well by equating privacy campaigners with copyright infringement. This is somewhat ironic. Without explicit license from website operators, the Phorm system would be creating unauthorised derivatives of works protected by copyright and database right. The argument that Phorm have the same implied consent that google has to index public web pages falls apart once you consider that Phorm would intercept cookie authenticated sessions.

* I'm sure I've responded to a rhetorical question, I just wanted to point out how completely disconnected from reality Phorm are.

Wake up UK morons. (4, Insightful)

TractorBarry (788340) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750497)

Another day, another example of the venal, self serving, political class currently running the UK into the ground. I just wish people in the UK would wake up, get off their arses and go out and vote for anything other than the red themed (the one with the rose logo) or blue themed (the one with the torch logo) Conservative parties.

Honestly just go and vote for absolutely anybody else. Vote Liberal democrats, vote Monster Raving Loony, vote Green, vote for the Miss UK party, just make sure you vote and make sure it's not for either the red or blue parties. if necessary tactially vote to make sure the bastards are beaten. I'd love to see the day when we had a government comprised of an eclectic mix of all sorts of individuals.

The political class in this country treat its citizens with utter contempt and do not deserve a job of any sort, let alone one that allows them to ruin the lives of everyone else. If they're not putting their hand in our back pockets to pay for yet more luxury furnishings to their second homes (paid for by us) they're desperately trying to find more ways to micro manage and interfere with every last vestige of our personal lives.

I think Mr. Coleman (Killing Joke) puts it best in Implant with the line "You don't want to protect, you just want to fucking control".

Oh never mind Eastenders is on in a minute, followed by Match of the day, and it's all too difficult to think about. I suppose people do get the governments they deserve after all...

Re:Wake up UK morons. (2, Interesting)

vivaelamor (1418031) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wake up UK morons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27754041)

I really, *really* wish I could. Of course, due to the fact that our constitution has been bodged together from whatever works from time to time, we have to wait until such a time as it seems fit for Her Majesty's Government to dissolve the House of Commons and declare an election. Many of us have been calling for this, although it seems our representatives (and Labour backbenchers) have a hard time in uttering those sacred words, "This House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government".
 
I do honestly believe that had the electorate been aware of the ridiculously sleazy ways of New Labour before 1997 we would not have had the slew of crap which has permeated the statute books for the past 12 years.

(This post has been analysed by Phorm, and approved advertising has hijacked your regular service.)

Why not cut out the middleman? (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750653)

<company_name> writes <country_name> government policy.......this is nothing new, specially in the "civilized world". Surely it'd be more efficient in screwing people over if the role of "ministers" was downsized, as all they do is siphon off bribes from the bottom line.

Yet another example of why the system is broken and needs replacing with a citizen friendly democratic replacement.

Phorm phights phoul phreedom phighters (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751385)

(really - look at StopPhoulPlay.com [stopphoulplay.com] . It's really special.)

Beleaguered Internet advertising phirm Phorm is hitting back at critics with StopPhoulPlay.com [stopphoulplay.com] , in an attempt to lure Internet activists into herniating from laughter.

"It is clear that the campaign against Phorm [today.com] originates in the sinister manipulations of Alex Hanff and Marcus Williamson," said Kent Ertegun, CEO of Phorm, "who have used mind control lasers and the killer robot armies of the Open Rights Group and FIPR to deceive millions of Britons into a Communistic fervor of hatred against the engines of the free market and customer demand, the salesmen and marketers, the true creators and enablers of objective value."

The website, designed in Microsoft Word, uses the public relations format so successfully put into play by the ReligiousFreedomWatch.org [religiousf...mwatch.org] site of the Church of Scientology, a community institution of flawless repute. StopPhoulPlay.org reveals how:

* At the age of five, Hanff REFUSED to share his crayons with the little girl next to him, saying she was "poopy" and would only draw a picture to be used against him.
* At age twelve, Williamson accepted MONEY from his mother to buy sweets, but not to tell schoolmates in case they wanted some.
* Hanff and Williamson may have attempted to access POTENTIALLY ILLEGAL images blocked by the Internet Watch Foundation.
* Hanff and Williamson have used WIKIPEDIA at least once in their lives.
* Hanff and Williamson INVADED POLAND in 1939.

"Given the persistence with which they propagate incorrect information, we cannot rule out the possibility that a competitor is involved," he said. "The competitor goes under the name 'reality.' Needless to say, we have no tolerance for an entity of such limited possibilities.

"These people are privacy pirates -- people who steal privacy online, off the coast of Somalia. With Internet guns! And drugs! And child pornography!"

Mr Hanff and Mr Williamson said they were unsure whether to sue Phorm into atomic dust for gross defamation or to just let them continue with their infallible public relations work. Phorm shares have dropped from 405p to being declared a serious infection risk by the World Health Organization.

People who work in the public sector (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#27751401)

As is the case with so many things like this that appear to be governments colluding with the private sector to further commercial vested interest etc. etc., it is in fact just a result of the kind of people that work in the public sector in Britain.

Basically, most civil servants are marshmallow-soft, compliant yes-men who spend most of their time finding the line of least resistance for various reasons. Sometimes it's over work, sometimes it's lack of knowledge or confidence in the issues they are being asked to deal with, sometimes it's plain and simple childish naivetee. I don't know what was the reason here, but I don't think it was a conspiracy: it's just some poor public employee trying to do what they think is "right" and getting it hopelessly wrong. The same is the case with things like government and the music industry: the provider sector pays lobbyists to bombard, charm, bully (sometimes very aggressively), and otherwise apply very persuasive techniques against civil servants who basically know little else but the dreaming spires of Oxford and the poetry of Milton. Not surprisingly, the industry usually gets its way.

I don't know what we can do about this short of fighting fire with fire and privatizing the civil service, but I highly doubt this is conspiracy.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27751461)

This is probably another third party the government can use to tap the public. That or Plan B if this UK Communications Silo thing runs out of budget, which wouldn't surprise me given the current UK economy.

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