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.
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Like a bad case of the clap, peddler of advertising powered by illegal use of DPI technology Phorm has resurfaced. This time in Brazil. NoDPI picked up on it too and their analyses of things are always worth reading.
This isn’t all that much of a surprise. After its secret trials with BT were exposed by Chris Williams at The Register, Phorm failed to provide any proof that its Webwise “product” was fully compliant with UK and EU law. Phorm also engaged PR companies to try and obfuscate discussions on technical forums. The techies didn’t take this lying down and the resulting backlash and grass roots campaign hit Phorm hard. Shares that were worth £35 plummeted to around £1.
Phorm had done itself few favours with its failure to engage in open and honest discussion with the UK internet user community. The smear campaign website they came up with was as pathetic a thing as I have seen on the internet. And I’ve been around a fair bit. With the European Commission’s legal action happening in the background and the anti-DPI campaign still as vocal as ever, Phorm decided to “concentrate their efforts elsewhere”. Or in more common parlance head off somewhere where they would get less of a kicking.
Regular readers will know this. If you’re new to the Phorm story then please read through my postings about Phorm. There’s some very interesting stuff there.
So Phorm have resurfaced in Brazil. Much as it’s tempting to mention something about certain war criminals from a defeated regime hiding in South America, I won’t. For the moment.
In Brazil word is starting to spread about Phorm’s previous history (translation here) in spyware and the backlash against Phorm here in the UK. Phorm just don’t understand that privacy is an issue for people all over the world. Or they just don’t care.
In the UK Phorm tried very very hard to push their illegal use of DPI technology through as legal. That they haven’t succeeded – despite the use of lobbying government departments, “reputation management” bully boys and shedloads of PR – is because of excellent investigative journalism from Chris Williams and people like Alex Hanff (now Head Of Ethical Networks at Privacy International) and the folk at NoDPI spreading the word, campaigning and challenging politicians to protect internet users’ privacy and enforce the law.
Kent Ertugrul might well have forgotten my challenge to him. It still stands nearly two years later.
If you know anyone in Brazil I urge you to warn them about the huge to privacy posed by Phorm.