Phorm is a purveyor of Deep Privacy Invasion (DPI) software used by advertising companies to ferret out personal and private information about surfers so they can be more easily targeted by ads.
Alex is largely responsible for Phorm’s phailure to phk pholks with phony claims that its ‘product’ is actually good for them, instead of representing a major invasion of their privacy.
He also runs the NoDPI site on which he says, “I received a message from Rupert Neate at the Daily Telegraph today asking me to contact him as a ‘right to reply’ with regards to allegations Phorm had made against me.”
Interestingly, The Telegraph is one of the British newspapers accused by Which? magazine of pulling articles over “Phorm Inc. (BT/Webwise) legal threats,” said Wikileaks recently.
Google/UK Press Association and Channel 4 were tarred with the same brush.
Alex goes on »»»
So after an afternoon of correspondence with Rupert I was told the article would be published tonight and it has now appeared.
It claims the following:
Mr Ertugrul claims that Mr Hanff is a serial agitator and accuses him of running similar campaigns against others, including Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Pampers nappies, for discriminating against larger children by failing to make large nappies.
[Note - 'Mr Ertugrul' is former spyware purveyor turned Phorm boss Kent Ertugrul - Jon]
I am deeply distressed that my consumer complaint to Proctor and Gamble has finally come to light. It is embarrassing for me to admit that yes I did write to Proctor Gamble, once, a long time ago. My letter was a complaint to do with nappies. I confess, it was an evil deed that I am not proud of, it is unconscionable to suggest that consumers have a right to contact manufacturers to complain. However, I feel I should correct the allegation as it is not quite accurate.
What I actually complained about was that Pampers Size 6 nappies (their largest size) are not sold in bulk packs as all the other sizes are, which creates a financial burden on parents of larger children.
Still that is no excuse, I am guilty as charged and await sentencing. Whatever anyone does, please do not follow my example, the world would be in chaos if consumers suddenly felt they had a right to complain to manufacturers.
The Telegraph piece then goes on to say:
The website also claims that Mr Hanff has been fined in his absence $45,000 (£30,000) for alleged copyright infringement in the US and alleges he has been banned from numerous internet video forums for unsavoury behaviour.
Now the first claim is puzzling to say the least. As many people know (it was widely reported in the press at an international level) I was indeed sued by the MPAA in 2005 for upto $150 million USD. I have never received any notification from any court or indeed from Jennar [sic] and Block (the lawyers who were acting on behalf of the MPAA) stating a judgement has been made against me, nor making any demands for payment of any fines as a result of that judgement.
So I guess tomorrow I will have to contact Jennar and Block [RIAA / MPAA favourites Jenner & Block] for more information – but the comment stinks of libel to me. There is no way Jennar and Block or the Court they sued me in can claim not to have my address, both sent several communications to it in 2005, delivered by a Bailiff.
In fact there was an article on this just last year looking at the way the case seems to have been dropped – it made big news on Digg reaching the front page, so Jennar and Block would have been aware of it. Yet still I have received no correspondence. Neither have the MPAA made any press releases claiming victory, which as we know from historical evidence, they are usually very quick to do (even when they have lost).
Furthermore, the US Courts have absolutely no jurisdiction over UK citizens – so even if there had been a judgement, it would be wholly irrelevent and totally unenforceable.
As for the allegation that I have been banned from a video forum web site – again this is utter fabrication. To my knowledge I have never been banned from any video sites. I have been banned from CableForum due to a rather heated disagreement with one of their forum moderators in a private message last year. I am quite happy to accept that my outburst was inappropriate but it hardly counts as the crime of the century.
What Phorm failed to find out was that yes I have been active at campaigning in the past but not against Proctor and Gamble.
For example very early last year I launched a letter writing campaign targetted at the BBC regarding the issue of iPlayer not being platform independent. As a user of GNU/Linux for about 13 years I am a strong believer in Open Source Technologies, and I like many others, was unhappy that the BBC`s launch of iPlayer was only available on the Microsoft Windows platform. So I am afraid I have to plead guilty there of once again assuming I had the right to complain to the BBC, which although it is funded by the TV tax we all pay, is certainly not accountable to the public. How dare I assume such activities are acceptable?
Another one they missed was when I had to have corrective surgery on my face after being assaulted along with a friend one dark night on our University campus by a local business man. The reason for the attack was because myself and said friend were running a campaign on campus against the illegal employment practices of campus and city based fast food take aways. These companies were hiring students and paying them as little as half minimum wage and working them upto 14 hours a day, 6 days per week. Many of the victims were foreign students who knew no better and needed the money to cover their living costs whilst they were here studying.
AN ASSAULT TOOK PLACE ON THE SOUTH SPINE on Sunday evening. A complaint was lodged with the police who have since interviewed a man in connection with the incident. The man has been bailed to reappear at Lancaster police station on 6 April and the file has been sent to the CPS.
MONDAY’S STUDENT UNION MEETING was, as is traditional, inquorate. The 150 or so present discussed a motion tabled by Alex Hanff and Owen Barton condemning the low wages paid by some campus businesses. An advisory vote was taken and it is expected that the SU executive will pursue the matter. Source: http://www.maths.lancs.ac.uk/~rowlings/Inkytext/msg00000.html
The result of our action was that the University enforced a minimum wage environment on campus forcing companies to pay the minimum wage required under law, to employees. The University also made it very clear to these companies that student welfare was more important than fast food and worked to build a framework of ethical business on the Campus.
Such activity is clearly dissident in nature and should never be encouraged – I probably need publicly flogging in Alexandra Square (located on Lancaster University Campus) to disuade other students from engaging in campus politics and policies in the future.
On a more serious note, I won`t even discuss the voluntary work I did for almost a decade relating to child abuse because the nature of that issue is so serious that it would be utterly innapropriate to use it as part of a piece of satire, you can do your own research on that.
Furthermore, it would seem that I am now being labelled as a Privacy Pirate and The Angry Activist on Phorm`s newly launched anti-anti-Phorm web site.
Their complaints of my deviant acts extend beyond the Daily Telegraph article onto their anti-anti-Phorm web site where they claim:
What is curious is that the Commission`s announcement refers to having received letters from UK consumers. Which consumers, one is tempted to ask? The answer, of course, is the hydra-headed activists of NODPI and its associates
Oh what folly of me to encourage people to engage in the political process – how inexcusable of me to assume that members of the public have the right to interact with democracy. Surely such a deviant act can only be suitably punished by having my hands chopped off and tongue removed to prevent me speaking or typing such encouragements again in the future.
What an amazingly funny day it has been. Phorm`s new web site and the Telegraph article are laughable at best and I am not at all embarrassed or concerned by any of the allegations, which are mostly unfounded and may even be libelous.
I am flattered that Phorm see me as such a threat to their business but I am staggered as to what they think this latest assault is going to achieve. I have never in my entire life seen such a ridiculously childish action by a multi-million dollar corporation. It smacks of school yard tantrums and I am sure the media and public will see it for exactly what it is – a desperate attempt by Phorm to discredit a group of innocent people concerned about the threat Phorm`s technology poses to their privacy.
I am available for comment on press at nodpi dot org but I really don`t see what else there is to say.
You can find the Telegraph article here.
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