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Phorm Trying To Duck The UK Storm?

The FT reports that Phorm has announced that it has put its plans for the UK on hold, preferring to concentrate its efforts on other markets.

This comes after the rescheduling of the Phorm AGM, the departures of two executives, interim results showing a loss of $15 million over the 6 months to 30th June 2009 and a comprehensive overhaul of its websites to try and hide its attempts at smears and its laughable claims of governmental approval.

The FT article makes no mention of the legal and privacy issues which have been highlighted by the backlash against Phorm and other peddlers of similar DPI based solutions which are strongly argued to be illegal under UK law because they intercept communications without a judicial warrant.  So the FT gets a big fat FAIL thrown at it.  The Times has a brief report on Phorm’s results but also fails to mention these issues.  More poor journalism there.  FAIL.  A better article comes from Charles Arthur at The Guardian.

Phorm have never published a verifiable legal opinion supporting their product’s legality under UK and EU law despite being challenged to do so.  Phorm worked alongside BT to undertake secret tests of their technology on BT Internet’s customer base during 2006 and 2007.  BT have never published a verifiable legal opinion supporting their secret tests.

Phorm’s decision to put its UK plans on hold can only be seen as a victory for the very people Phorm tried to smear, slur and bully, the people they branded “Privacy Pirates” and The Register whom they branded “a mouthpiece”.  But it is only a partial victory.

This decision smacks of a recognition that they are in trouble.  Not just financially but legally as well.  This smacks of desperately hoping that if they keep a low profile things might just blow over.  Phorm may try to keep a low profile, rebuild and come back stronger.

It does not alter the fact that Webwise is illegal under UK and EU law.

There is a reckoning to be had.  Executives from BT and Phorm must be brought to full legal account for the thousands of privacy breaches they orchestrated.  “Government”, ICO, Police and CPS staff who were complicit in allowing Phorm & BT to proceed without due diligence on their part must also be brought to book.

Nothing less will be acceptable.

Published inbad managementbusinesscampaigningethicsInternetprivacyTechie

One Comment

  1. Well it now appears that Mr. Brown and his band of ne’r do wells have finally realised that the Phorm cookie is far too hot to handle and have given up trying to defend it and turned their attention to attempting to make it go away by refusing to answer any more freedom of information act questions on the subject.
    It seems the shutters have now come gone with a resounding thud as privacy activists attempts to uncover the undoubted skullduggery that went on between BT. Phorm and the government . Despite the many protestations of innocence by the Home Office et al, the consensus is that someone in government knew all about this and it is now a case of covering rear ends.
    Had not the outcry from the public been so voracious it would not have reached the ears of the European Commissioners, who quite rightly in the view of those who have championed the fight against this intrusive spyware.
    reached the conclusion that the British government had failed substantially in their duty to protect the citizens of the UK by their failure to implement the European directives on privacy, This rendered any opinions passed by the government in support of Phorm’s actions, and there were many as privacy activists can attest, null and void.
    The revelations in the emails sent to Baroness Miller and referred to by her in the House of Lords made in her words. “Anything the Home Office now say about Phorm tainted” . This government have been trying to spin their way out of this ever since. Suddenly each and every government department has been attempting to outdo the other as each declared they had never said, never implied , never meant to infer, that the system used by Phorm was legal and above board. Phorm lost its support overnight as the establishment tried vainly to hide its complicity in a breach of trust so great that if everything was exposed it had the potential to bring down a government. Never has there been such a blatant breach of trust and neglect of duty as that carried out by this government. It carried out this shameful act with a complete disregard for the rights of the very people it is supposed to protect at the whim of a self seeking spyware vendor and a greedy Telecom company.
    The regulator OFCOM is strangely silent on this matter and any attempts to illicit information are met with delay and a complete reticence to disclose any meaningful reply. Then there is the matter of Mr. Kip Meek,formerly of OFCOM, whose name pops up repeatedly but who for some reason correspondence never seems to have written to or received from or is subject to exemption from publication under the Freedom of Information Act. All this does nothing to dispell the belief that the government are up to their necks in this.
    “In the beginning”,says a good book. Well in the beginning in this story the fact is that this government acted as an unpaid public relations firm for BT and Phorm. Every question was answered with the standard Phorm PR handout. Legitimate and probing questions about how it actually worked asked by people qualified to ask such questions were ignored and the government weasely word department called on to obfuscate and waffle.
    They even went so far as to ask Phorm if an opinion they were going to give would suit them. This shameful act cost them dearly in the eyes of the public.
    It is my opinion :
    That someone in this government knew all about the illegal trials in 2006 and 2007.
    That there is an ongoing cover up that reaches far into this government
    That the government became embroiled in this because they thought they had been given an opportunity to use a system that gave them access to covert surveillance without the need for judicial supervision, in fact warrantless wire tapping.


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