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All I Hear Is Phorm

Like a nasty strain of venereal disease that just won’t go away, Phorm somehow seems to keep hanging on and showing up somewhere that hasn’t encountered its unpleasantness.  Kent Ertugrul’s company is said to be looking at China (a nice match that as China is no fan of privacy) and is trialling in Brazil.  Of course what Kent calls trialling and what you or I would call trialling may well be two very different things.

Let’s be honest here, veracity isn’t something Phorm have a very good track record in.  There has been some discussion on internet forums in Brazil about Phorm and its invasive (and illegal under UK and EU law) product. Then of course there’s the smear campaign website.  In short there’s nothing about Phorm to indicate that they are trustworthy in any respect.

Don’t believe me?

Here are a few of my other Phorm related posts: one, two, three, and four.  A post about the Digital Economy Bill has some stuff in it that bears repeating too.

Since my Portuguese is non-existent I have to rely on online translation services.  And it comes up with some interesting stuff:

Phorm: tracking of Internet user can build sexual orientation and religion, says the Ministry of Justice

Laura Mendes participated on Tuesday in a public hearing before the Commission on Constitution and Justice (CCJ) Senate to debate the issue… Laura noted that the DPDC opened administrative proceedings against the Hi and Phorm for not having responded to a request for information made in April.

I’ve got news for Laura.  I’ve been waiting over two years for Phorm’s proof that their Webwise “product” is compliant with UK and EU law.  Provision of facts rather than spin and engaging in honest debate is not something Phorm have been very good at.  This blog’s existence is proof of that.

The company consultant Caio Tulio Costa acknowledged at the hearing that Phorm erred in England, but that will not repeat them in Brazil.   He described as unfortunate the fact that Phorm have tests done in secret European country in partnership with British Telecom.  The European Commission banned the service.

So Phorm will be providing full disclosure?  Phorm will be publishing qualified legal opinion confirming legality under Brazilian law?  Phorm will be actively seeking users’ permission to opt-in to their system?

News just in… Jamie Dowling has been called up to open the batting for Pakistan at Lord’s.  Skipper Shahid Afridi said he was sure Jamie would bring his own rock & roll presence to the team but refused to be drawn on whether the team would join him in a Bill & Ted air guitar celebration if Birmingham born rocker Jamie took a wicket or scored a hundred.

For those who didn’t spot it, that last paragraph was sarcasm.

The truth is that Phorm have a very bad track record.  Expect the same kind of behaviours in Brazil as they tried in the UK.  I’ll tell you what’s really “unfortunate” – that there have been no prosecutions over BT’s secret tests with Phorm on unsuspecting internet users.

Pedro Ripper, director of Hi said that the consumer has to be handled transparently, with the choice to activate or not the Phorm service.  Representatives of Land and UOL also attended the hearing and defended the tool.

Pedro Ripper?  Seriously?  Please tell me you’re joking. Maybe his surname will inspire the next attempt by Phorm to violate peoples’ privacy and copyright.  Phorm Internet Ripper – how does that sound?

Phorm and transparency go together like me opening the batting for Pakistan.  They don’t.  Not even remotely.

Elsewhere

Opening of Administrative Procedure points out the risks to privacy of the partnership between Hi and Phorm

An administrative proceeding against TNL PCS SA (Hi Group) was established by the Department of Consumer Protection and the Ministry of Justice (DPDC / SDE / MJ) for suspected violation of consumer rights, in particular their privacy and intimacy, because of the risk to Brazilian consumers from the deployment of British technology company Phorm’s network Hi

The introduction of the initiative process is unprecedented and can broaden the debate in Brazil about the legality and constitutionality of the interception made by Phorm and may even alert other public authorities for these risks.

Hmm… that sounds familiar.

Phorm is like syphilis – it is unpleasant, unwanted and unwelcome.

Following that logic you could say that it’s like Gordon Brown, Piers Morgan, the Daily Mail, Ed Balls…. Its demise cannot come soon enough for me and the thousands of people whose privacy was violated by BT’s illegal secret tests with Phorm.

I’m still waiting for Kent Ertugrul to front up and respond to my challenge.

Published inbad managementethicsInternetprivacyTechie