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For new users :
Sadly due to a massive influx of spammers we've been forced to switch off user registration. You can still read everything here but if you'd like to contribute you will need to e-mail admin (at) badphorm.co.uk to register, it should only take a day or so for us to set up your account. We're sorry for the inconvenience but there's really no other way to keep the spam off the forums.

So, what's all the fuss about?

Simply put, three of the UK's largest ISPs (Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk) had decided to sell your private browsing history to an advertising broker. Yes, the entire content of every web page you visit would have been sent to Phorm in real time, as you click. A personal profile would then have been created, allowing Phorm to send you 'targeted advertising'.

Naturally the ISP's are not too keen on telling their users this, they'd much rather feed us all platitudes about how it'll help combat phishing and how the targeted adverts will be so much better than the random ones we see today. In fact, they didn't even announce it to the UK press, we had to find out about it from the New York Times!

Thankfully after almost a year and a half of pressure from BadPhorm and other privacy groups, BT & Talk Talk have formally withdrawn any plans to implement Phorm on their networks. That leaves Virgin Media as the only UK ISP currently known to be interested in implementing Phorm.

We at BadPhorm urge Virgin Media to follow their example and protect the privacy of UK internet users and webmasters worldwide by withdrawing their interest in Phorm as quickly as possible.

The Need for Private and Confidential Communication

The European Convention on Human Rights gives us all the right to privacy in our communications.

Private communication is an essential requirement for the economy to function, and underpins our democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

Monitoring internet communications without consent amounts to mass surveillance, and industrial espionage.

The Value of the Internet

The thing that makes the internet the priceless resource we value is the content and services.

Phorm's Webwise system does not provide an easy or credible method for web sites to retain control over their comunications and creative works.

A mechanism which penalises a content creator by requiring web sites to opt out of communications surveillance is not acceptable or, in our view, credible. Advance consent is essential.

Documents published on the Internet may be publicly and freely accessible; they are certainly not in the public domain.

Trials of Phorm

Early last year it became apparent that BT had trialled the Phorm profiling technology in secret in 2006 and 2007, without the consent or knowledge of hundreds of thousands of their customers, or the web sites that served them.

The contempt shown for customers in leaked documentation is appalling.

A further trial was conducted in 2008, following which BT decided not to proceed with deployment of the Phorm system.

Conclusion

We thank those ISP's who have withdrawn their interest in Phorm and call on all ISPs to refrain from implementing deep packet inspection systems (like Phorm) for the purposes of targeted advertising.

It is clearly simply impossible for ISPs to overcome the privacy, security, legal, copyright, and technical concerns associated with using this technology for these purposes.

United Kingdom Politicians must act to protect the privacy, security, and integrity of public communication systems.

And we demand - the Police and the Information Commissioner must prosecute BT for abusing private and confidential telecommunications, and violating the rights of web site content creators during Phorm trials.

Join us, help fight Phorm.

-The Team at BadPhorm.