UK ISPs Snooping Customer Browsing Habits

April 6th, 2008 | Posted in Anonymity, Current Events, FireFox, Internet, Last Days, Marketing, News, Opinion, Privacy, Programming, Software, Technology, Tracking, Websites | 1 Comment

Not only are they snooping on the browsing habits of customers, it’s going a lot farther than that.  First there’s an article on where BT, One of the UK’s largest ISPs, admits to spying on 36,000 customers.  The article tells how BT chose 36,000 of it’s users for a trial run in which they tested a system developed by a US software company called “Phorm”.

They’ve got this new idea for serving targeted advertising where basically your web browsing traffic is intercepted, analyzed, and used to serve targeted advertising.  There’s an article on The Register that details How Phorm plans to tap your internet connection and it’s an insidious thing with it’s roots firmly entrenched in spyware.

What’s really annoying about it is that you actually have to opt out of it if you don’t want to be part of it.  Apparently the way these UK ISPs are going to do this is that you’ll be opted in unless you specifically jump through hoops to opt out.  Fortunately, for Firefox users there is something that can help.

There’s a Firefox plugin called “Dephormation” that opts you out of phorm everywhere you encounter it and it also lets you know when you run into a website that’s got a connection to one of their “webwise” sites.

Once I had that plugin installed, I found that going to this link got me a notification that Dephormation had found a link to a Phorm/Webwise/oix/ site.

Right now, this online invasion of privacy seems to be mostly in the UK, but don’t be surprised when it starts showing up in the US. it’s just another step along the way to having everything we do or look at monitored in some way.

Technorati Tags: advertising, browsing+habits,, dephormation,, invasion+of+privacy,, isps,, oix,, phorm,, Privacy,, snooping,, spyware,, targeted+advertising,, Tracking,, uk,, webwise

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One Response to “UK ISPs Snooping Customer Browsing Habits”

  1. That is crazy.  What US company created Phorm?  Any idea if they are using it in the US.  Then my paranoid mind asks…..why/how did someone create a Firefox plug-in to opt-out if it supposed to be a secret!

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