Phorm, the company behind the yet to be proven legal targeted advertising technology “Webwise” have had a rough week.
- The European Commission told them there is a legal case for them, BT and the UK “Government” to answer
- LiveJournal have told them where to go
- So have Amazon
- Wikimedia has gone further and issued a public statement saying that they consider Webwise to be “an infringement on their [users'] privacy“. Respect to Wikimedia for standing up where others have been reluctant to do so.
With these very heavy hits against them, Phorm did the one thing they felt they had to do. Reassure their investors with some woefully inadequate spin disguised as facts.
I’ve played local club cricket. And I’ve seen some pretty poor attempts at spin and some woefully dodgy actions. Never mind Johan Botha (who I like and admire and am sure he’ll be back soon) or Muttiah Muralitharan, I’ve seen people throw like Steve Backley. The latest batch of spin is, sadly, just the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from Phorm.
Phorm are claiming that the UK “government” Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has cleared their Webwise “product” as legal.
Now I and others have repeatedly challenged Kent Ertugrul and Phorm to make public the advice they have received confirming the legality of Webwise. Phorm’s PR people know my e-mail address, they used it once. I replied openly and honestly and have yet to receive any reply from Phorm.
To this day I have not seen anything, whether from “government” or legal counsel that confirms Webwise is legal. Not one word of counter argument from people more qualified than me or Dr Richard Clayton or Alexander Hanff or anyone else on the various anti-Phorm forums to pass an objective opinion based on law.
So any such claims should be taken with a truckload of salt. But if you do a little research, you find that the actual facts are a bit different from what Phorm would have you believe.
Freedom Of Information requests are a very useful tool.
Begs the question does Phorm actually have documented legal opinion confirming the legality of Webwise? I’ve been repeating this like a broken record time and time and time again but still have yet to see any verifiable legal opinion from Phorm that confirms Webwise is in fact completely legal and above board.
I’m beginning to wonder if this ever existed. There’s a very simple way to answer this question.
Publish this legal advice or opinion for everyone to see.
Read NoDPI’s take on this issue here.
The facts look plain to me: BERR and the Home Office have never provided legal opinion that Webwise is legal. Isn’t Phorm saying something to the contrary lying?
There’s a phrase for someone telling untruths where I come from. Well actually there are quite a few and most of them are not suitable for this blog. “You’re full of it!” is the phrase which comes to mind.
So the question is, if this legal advice or opinion doesn’t actually exist, are Phorm phull of it?
It looks that way.
Can Kent prove Jamie and the anti-Phorm campaigners wrong?