BT drops Phorm targeted ad service after customers cry foul over privacy

BT has quietly ditched a controversial system that tracks the internet habits of its customers, developed by the technology firm Phorm, which has been attacked as online snooping by privacy campaigners. BT was a key player in the development of Phorm’s Webwise system, which uses information about which sites an internet user visits to target them with relevant advertising on subsequent pages.It carried out secret tests of the technology in 2006 and 2007 which are now the basis of a European commission investigation into the UK government’s failure to protect its citizens online. Last year BT carried out a proper consumer trial of Phorm’s technology. The results have been keenly awaited, not just by management at Phorm – whose chairman is former chancellor Norman Lamont – but by its other two potential partners, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.To read this report in The Guardian in full, see:
www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/06/btgroup-privacy-and-the-netAlso see:BT Decides Not to Adopt Internet-Based Ad System
Amid rising concern about privacy, BT Group, the British telecommunications company, said Monday that it would not adopt a technology that lets advertisers tailor their pitches to consumers based on interests revealed by their Internet use.The news was the latest in a series of setbacks for Phorm, the company that developed the technology, causing its stock to plunge more than 40 percent.
http://nytimes.com/2009/07/07/technology/internet/07private.htmlPhorm shares fall as BT opts out
Shares in the online ad firm Phorm have fallen by more than 40% after BT said it had no immediate plans to use the service that tracks online behaviour.Phorm serves up adverts related to a user’s web browsing history, which it monitors by taking a copy of the places they go and search terms they look for.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8135850.stm

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