The Nationwide Building Society has always struck me as an organisation which lives its principles. Unlike some other organisations I can think of. This weekend just past was a busy one for me on many fronts so I wasn’t able to keep in touch with events at Lord’s or on the NoDPI forum.
So it came as refreshing news that Nationwide has declared that it is opting-out of Phorm’s Webwise scheme. Several sources carry this report. The Guardian carries a fuller version of Nationwide’s statement (my emphasis):
We have had discussions with our online advertising agency on Phorm and as a result of this review we have decided to contact Phorm and ask them not to scan the Nationwide website. Investigating the service that they are looking to offer, we do not see the benefit to our customers or to us of allowing them to scan the Nationwide website in this way.
Phorm might associate itself with companies with questionable ethical behaviour (yes, I am talking about Ian Livingston and BT) but companies like The Guardian, Orange, Amazon and now Nationwide are rejecting Phorm.
Opt-out is the poorer choice as Webwise should be opt-in only under EU law but by making this announcement, Nationwide is showing itself to be respectful of its customers’ privacy.
Remember, Phorm’s Webwise “product” is illegal under UK and EU law. The UK “government” lacked the cojones to enforce the law and is now being held accountable for that failure by the EU. Kent Ertugrul and Phorm’s PR companies have failed to produce a qualified verifiable legal opinion confirming Webwise’s legality.