Phorm: Warning To TalkTalk, Virgin & BT Customers

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by skunk, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #1
    I don't know if anyone heard Tim Berners-Lee this morning on the Beeb, but there's a company called Phorm which has just done deals with BT, Virgin and TalkTalk to sell information about every website their customers visit. Be warned. Be very warned.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7299875.stm

    http://www.badphorm.co.uk/page.php?2

    I am planning to leave Virgin immediately if they cannot give an absolute assurance that records of my internet usage will not be sold to advertisers and god-knows-who-else. I don't want anybody knowing how much time I spend on here, for a start!
     
  2. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #2
    I've just switched to Virgin and will ensure I opt out (even thought it should be an opt in system). If they don't offer an opt out and start sending my personal browsing to Phorm then I will cancel my contract on the spot.
     
  3. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #3
    There are a few things about this that I don't get.

    1. How are the adverts delivered?
    2. Haven't Hitwise been doing this, or something very similar, for years?
     
  4. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #4
    In answer to my own questions :
    1. The ads are delivered on websites that have decided to use Phorm.
    2. Whilst Hitwise seems to track usage in a similar fashion to Phorm, it doesn't serve ads.

    As for the traffic being anonymous. A while back, AOL accidently posted the search history of some of its users, and although AOL didn't release specific user information, it was trivial to find out who the user was just by looking at their google searches.

    How many times do you type your own address into Google Maps?
     
  5. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #5
    Apparently you can opt out of this bollocks. I've not found out how though, as of yet.
     
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #6
    This has been all over the place for the past few weeks old boy ;) :p

    Anyone using Firefox can opt themselves out with this extension: www.dephormation.org.uk

    There still needs to be a way to opt out at the system level though, but this will get you by while the ISP's get their arses whooped by their customers.
     
  7. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    benkadams.com
    #8
    Great, I'm with virgin, so first they crippled our connection (down to about 5-15kbps) for 2 months, now they're going to track everything we look at, what next, seriously...
     
  8. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
  9. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #10
    Probably a customer satisfaction survey.

    I got on recently after making a complaint. The survey asks all kinds of questions about; how they handled the complaint, the results etc.

    Thing is I never got a response about the complaint, let alone anything done about it. :rolleyes:
     
  10. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #11
    Well, technically Virgin aren't going to track you, but Phorm will assign you an identifying number and the kind of things this number looks at on the net will feed you relevant advertising.

    It's complete crap, yes the same thing basically already exists in many ways, but these ways are all blockable by me. I can deny cookies, use AdBlock to block entire domains etc. The thing with this is it's at the network level, there is no out unless they actually pull my network lead out of the Phorm box sitting at the exchange and route it directly out to the internet, as it bloody well should be.

    BTW, BT have cunningly called it BT Webwise and tied it in with their apparent phishing protection, so you see, it's all for your own good :rolleyes:
     
  11. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    benkadams.com
    #12
    I send 3 emails, on the 3rd, I got an automated reply that offered no help at all...

    My dad rang them 4 times, the first 2, they cut us off after being on hold for 8 and 15 minutes...

    The 3rd they said it must be something to do with our computers network, the fact that I have a mac (I'm not joking...), or that we were using both my mac and my dad's PC at the same time...

    On the 4th phone call they actually acknowledged a fault with the connection and said it would be fixed within the next week, 3 weeks later we had our connection back :D
     
  12. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    #13
    ... and then you have TalkTalk... Lets not even go there. Thankfully I'm not with them, the GF is though. Wow... Just, Wow. We have Tiscali at work and I'd kill for this over TalkTalk.
     
  13. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #14
    I think the best that you guys can do is to vote with your feet. If my ISP starts doing something similar (bethere), then I'm going to look elsewhere.
     
  14. Carnivor macrumors regular

    Carnivor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #15
    Things like this really, really bug me, i've been reading about it the last 2 days, and i just don't get it. This is just another company making money from cr4p!

    I dont want adverts period, let alone specially targeted adverts, if i want something i do the research for it, i do the price comparisons around the stores and websites for it,

    same with the bloody post office, they are paid to deliver junk, it all goes in the bin, and the special ones that provide envelopes get as much junk mail i can stuff in back to them.

    I read a quote somewhere, "its like having your postman open all your mail so he can put junk mail that relates to what you've been posted through your letter box"

    Great!!!

    Imagine how good search engines would be if, when you search for a product, its the manufacturer of that product thats top of the list. instead of page 4 of the search results, due to all the "check me i can find you a better price than you can" pointless sites.

    And what about people that have 1 computer for the household, dad happens to get into browsing some scantily clad women, next morning little jimmy is doing his homework on the computer and he's getting d1ldo adds?

    Dont start on parental control tools, as a backup ploy to defend the parent, hows this for parental control, lock away computer!!!

    You see how much this gets up my back?

    <deep breath> <deep breath>

    i signed the 10 downing st petition for this earlier today

    off to enhance calm now.....
     
  15. Carnivor macrumors regular

    Carnivor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #16

    Sorry me again, just godda comment on this, webwise huh?, you seen who owns webwise?

    http://www.phorm.com/webwise/

    anything familiar with this url?
     
  16. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #17
    What? Another pointless petition?

    As much as I find Phorm's business distasteful, they aren't breaking any laws. Even if they were to break the law, then I'm pretty confident that they'd be brought to justice.
    Whining to the government about a deal signed between your ISP and Phorm will not help. The best thing to do is to leave your ISP if they are one of the ones that have signed a deal with Phorm.
     
  17. Carnivor macrumors regular

    Carnivor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #18
    Have you read further into this? even if you opt out your still involved, a cookie is what determines if your in or out. aka always in as this requires processing.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7301379.stm

    also check the "see also" links

    dont you kinda not trust an ex spyware vendor??
     
  18. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #19
    Yeah, but nobody is being forced to use Talk Talk, Virgin or BT. There are still plenty of ISPs who aren't using Phorm.
     
  19. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #20
  20. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #21
    The people in this country need to realise that to get a good ISP, you need to spend more cash.

    I was with Plusnet, on a medium package, and the service was crap. It was slow, it was cheap. I left.

    Now I'm with Vivaciti - I pay £28 a month. I get regular download speeds of 500-600-700 kb/sec, upload speeds of 60kb/sec - and they're sure as hell not selling my browsing pattern to advertising companies. If you're paying less than half that, you're going to get someone guilty of the 'up-to 8 meg' con, with poor service, crap customer support etc.

    I'm sure you can luck-out and get good service for a low price somewhere - but with internet services, hosting, servers etc etc - you get what you pay for. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
     
  21. Carnivor macrumors regular

    Carnivor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #22
    Your theory falls short tho, im on Virgin VIP+ £80 Package (all TV, movies/sports, V+ box, 2nd box upstairs, and internet), 20mb connection is £35 of that.


    Were already thinking about going to sky but you need BT with that deal so cant win there either
     
  22. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #23
    You want to spend £6 more than me, for a connection 4x faster? You're not being realistic. And how much of that 24 meg do you ACTUALLY get? Half? A quarter? I get 75%+ of the speed advertised, 24/7.

    Doug
     
  23. Carnivor macrumors regular

    Carnivor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #24
    Who said Want to? ive been with virgiin / telewest for years, it does help if you actually read what is typed instead of assuming,

    Lets break this down

    "You want to spend £6 more than me," <- no want, i do!!

    "for a connection 4x faster?" 4x the speed of yours for an extra £6 who wouldn't? that is economical sence.

    "You're not being realistic. And how much of that 24 meg do you ACTUALLY get?"

    were back to the reading whats written again, ITS 20MB!!!! and I actually get between 17/22Mb/ sec, yes i can download 700mb in around 10 mins!!!

    Half? A quarter? I get 75%+ of the speed advertised, 24/7.

    I got 80/100% 24/7/365

    Sounds like YOU are the one being ripped off! paying £6 less than me or what you actually get. I also get a £15/m contribution from my employer, so for arguments sake lets call it a 20mb for £20 connection.

    Doug, you know nothing about me, you know nothing about what i do for a living. You clearly havent done any research on the subject, i also imagine you get pride from flaming forum noobs by replying with your uneducated guesses.
     
  24. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #25
    What does that have to do about anything? Fair play to you - you're the first person I've seen who thinks they're getting what's advertised from Virgin - unfortunately, all recent reviews suggest you are the exception, and not the rule. I HAVE done my research, I HAVE read the comparative analysis - virgin (and Be) despite advertising 24 meg connections are actually providing an average of about 6-8. For arguments sake, you're '20' meg connection costs £35. Doesn't matter who pays. That's what it costs.

    Let's compare, shall we, on average, what people get with Virgin

    http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html?isp_7=1&isp_25=1&isp_84=1&isp_6=1&commit=Compare

    Customer service - less than 50%, reliability - 60%, Speed, 50%.


    Not great, is it? Hows your traffic shaping going? How do you like your surfing habbits being sold to an advertising company? Keep searching that database, you will find that cheap ISP's are at the bottom, and the best ISP's cost a few more quid. It's a basic fact of the business.

    Yes, you can download 700mb in 10 minutes. I downloaded 700 mb in 17 minutes yesterday ( 720 MB actually) . Sorry - you're not getting the speeds advertised. 700mb in 10 minutes is approx 1100 kb/sec. About half what you claim to be getting. A 20 meg connection should get that file in 6 minutes.

    And if you think that was a flame, then you really ARE a forum noob. I'd suggest some thicker skin (resorting to the 'you don't know me' line is rather childish) - and, to be honest, getting only half the speeds your paying for by your own numbers, a different ISP.

    Doug
     

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