p2pnet news view Freedom | Advertising:- Phather of Phorm Kent Ertugrul tangled with father of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, “in a tense encounter at a discussion on internet privacy at the Houses of Parliament,” says The Register.
Ertugrul (left), “annoyed not to have been asked to appear on the panel,” sought to defend Phorm’s [DPI - Deep Privacy Invasion] technology, “by comparing its behavioural targeting to that done by advertising networks that work with website owners to track surfers as they browse the web,” says the story.
“To allow someone to snoop on your internet traffic is to allow them to put a television camera in your room, except it will tell them a whole lot more about you than the television camera,” it has Sir Tim saying.
The story goes on »»»
BT completed a third trial of Phorm’s system before Christmas. In a recent interview, Ertugrul said the full system will go live before the end of the year, although BT subsequently declined to confirm the statement.
… Ertugrul came prepared to make his own argument, and brandished a printout of none other than The Register’s front page and a list of the cookies it drops on visitors. After encouraging your reporter to give the room a wave (we did) for our work highlighting Phorm and its implications (we think he was joking, but it’s always hard to discern irony beneath an American accent), he said journalists would be out of a job without behavioural targeting.
Berners-Lee said: “Targeted advertising is an improvement, but there’s so many ways of doing it without messing up [the internet].” Opposition to interception and profiling by ISPs represented “neo-Luddite retrenchment”, Ertugrul said.
“That’s not what we’re talking about,” Berners-Lee replied, saying that he wasn’t arguing against behavioural targeting, but against interception and profiling by carriers, which he called “snooping”. As he explained his counter point, Ertugrul interrupted him, only to be asked to stand down by Miller.
“There have been a number of things said that patently misrepresent what we do,” Ertugrul protested. Increasingly worked up, he was eventually hushed by his technology chief Mark Burgess, who whispered, “in a minute, Kent,” to his boss.
Adds El Reg »»»
Despite Ertugrul’s ire at being overlooked for the panel, Phorm attended the event en masse. As well as Ertugrul and Burgess, public affairs director Radha Burgess and PR man Alex Laity were on hand. They also brought Peter Bazalgette, the reality TV executive turned media pundit. In November he wrote a defence of Phorm and similar technologies in the magazine Prospect, which purportedly carries influence among the political class.
The failure of UK authorities to investigate BT’s and Phorm’s secret trials in 2006 and 2007 was discussed as evidence the government did not appreciate the significance of Phorm-like technologies. Clayton said that although he didn’t expect BT executive to face criminal charges for coopting tens of thousands of customers’ data in Phorm’s systems, “we have got to make examples of them [to stop a repeat]“.
internet privacy – Deep Privacy Invasion: UK roundtable, March 12, 2009
The Register – Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament, March 11, 2009
Alex Hanff – Phorm and DPI: Alex Hanff, May 20, 2008
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