[LINK] nick off Phorm

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Jul 7 19:14:45 AEST 2009

stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> With luck, Phorm will go broke. They developed deep packet inspection.
Eeek ... DPI is pretty ancient, much older than Phorm. It popped up as a 
jargon de jure in the late 90s or early in the decade among firewall 

But I would certainly hope that the business of mass user-snooping fails.

> --
> Phorm stranded as BT and Carphone pull plug on online ‘spying’ technology
> by Elizabeth Judge 'The Times' July 7, 2009
> http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology
> The future of Phorm, the developer of controversial internet "spying" 
> technology (deep packet inspection) looked increasingly uncertain last 
> night after Carphone Warehouse joined the list of big-name clients 
> shunning the service. 
> Shares in Phorm slid 40 per cent yesterday after BT pulled plans to use 
> the service, which tracks internet users and sends specially tailored 
> advertisements to their screens based on their personal tastes. The 
> decision followed a barrage of attacks from privacy groups. 
> After BT’s move, Charles Dunstone, head of Carphone Warehouse, said: "We 
> were only going to do it if BT did it and if the whole industry was doing 
> it. We were not interested enough to do it on our own."
> Virgin is also reluctant, meaning that Phorm, whose non-executives 
> include Lord Lamont, the former Chancellor, has lost Britain’s three 
> biggest internet groups, prompting analysts to question its future. 
> (The Times Related Links: Wikipedia latest to reject Phorm technology)
> Dan Cryan, head of broadband at Screen Digest, the research and 
> intelligence consultancy, said: "It is never a happy position to be in 
> when a company potentially loses most of its customers before it has even 
> had a full commercial launch."
> Phorm, which listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2004, is one 
> of a growing number of companies seeking to cash in on the trail of 
> personal information that we leave behind on the internet. 
> Its service is aimed at showing advertisements based on who is looking at 
> a particular web page, rather than the content of the page itself. A car 
> lover, therefore, could be presented with car adverts even if searching 
> for flights. 
> For internet service providers, it offered a potentially valuable new way 
> of generating money from their subscribers. "Tailored" ads potentially 
> reap 100 times more than traditional ads, according to some analysts. 
> BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse’s TalkTalk had all signed up as 
> partners in the service. Last year, however, Phorm came under fire when 
> it emerged that BT had been conducting secret trials of its technology on 
> 36,000 of its broadband customers. 
> Privacy groups said that the system was intrusive and even Sir Tim 
> Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, condemned it: "I feel it is 
> very important that my internet service provider supplies internet to my 
> house like the water company supplies water to my house — connectivity 
> with no strings attached," he said. 
> Phorm insists that users are stored as a "unique random number" rather 
> than a name, that it does not gather personally identifiable information 
> and it does not store IP addresses. It said yesterday that its British 
> ambitions remained intact. 
> The company is hoping that BT will rethink its decision. However, a 
> recently published report from its broker had already identified the next 
> six months as critical for the company and its investors, who ploughed 
> £32 million into the group last year. 
> Phorm, which last year made a $48 million pre-tax loss after running 
> trials in the UK and South Korea, said that it was focusing on 
> opportunities abroad. "In so doing, we have already minimised our 
> dependency on the deployment by any single ISP or in any particular 
> market," it said. 
> --
> Cheers
> Stephen
> Victoria
> Australia
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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