Over the last few days I’ve been trying to develop a coherent answer to this question. Phorm seem to think they’ve got some kind of label to tar people such as myself with, a label that demonstrates how evil, unethical and untrustworthy we are.
Let me address this for once and for all.
Piracy suggests Somalis taking hostages. Well I’m not a Somali and I’ve never taken a hostage. Piracy suggests “Knock off Nigel” flogging DVDs down the pub. At my local in the Midlands there wasn’t even a Jiving Nigel (sole fan of Brick Outhouse, the cartoon strip rock band in Kerrang! magazine back in the days when it used to be good). I’ve never sold “knock off” goods, never taken possession of stolen property and therefore never tried to sell stolen property.
Piracy suggests The Pirate Bay, sharing copies of films and all that lark. Whilst I’m no fan of the majority of mindless garbage the entertainment industry foists on people these days, I make my point by avoiding stuff I dislike and not buying it. As I’ve already pointed out, I don’t register on the radar of these entertainment companies as a target market. I doubt that Phorm will be able to change that. And quite frankly, I don’t want them involved in trying to. There are people far more trustworthy who are doing excellent work in that area.
Piracy suggests treacherous and untrustworthy. Are Phorm questioning my professional reputation? I have never abused my position to uncover information about others. That’s called professional standards. I have never spread misinformation or baseless allegations about colleagues I disliked (remember, I don’t have to like someone to work well and professionally with them). That’s called professional standards. I stand for doing the right thing. Visibly, obviously and if necessary, loudly.
Piracy suggests missing eyes or other body parts, perhaps replaced by hooks or pieces of wood and some kind of avian companion. The only body part I’m missing is my appendix. Both my eyes are firmly in place as are all my extremeties. There is also a distinct lack of avian companions, loquacious or otherwise.
So that’s the pirate thing blown out of the water. Let’s look at conduct generally.
As a cricketer, there is a clear code of conduct to which all cricketers are expected to adhere.
As an archer, there is a clear code of conduct to which all archers are expected to adhere. Here are a few relevant points:
2. Behaving in a manner that upholds the dignity and reputation of the Society and its members, including junior members and vulnerable adults.
3. Acting in fairness and with integrity when dealing with the Society and its members.
4. Avoiding the abuse of power or trust arising from position or status within the Society.
5. Using archery skills and equipment in a responsible way so as to avoid nuisance, damage or injury.
6. Never taking advantage of, or abusing, any other member of the Society, including especially,junior members and vulnerable adults.
Bear these points in mind when you consider Phorm’s behaviour and approach to those who, like me, question the legality of their “Webwise” product. All of them come to mind when thinking about Phorm and Kent Ertugrul, often in connection with their pathetic effort at a smear campaign.
Privacy in this case means personal privacy, personally identifiable information (PII). Why shouldn’t I stand up and challenge companies and practices which I believe a) break the law and b) threaten my personal privacy through potential mishandling and misuse of that PII? Why should I meekly bow to the views of a company of whom I had never heard before February 2007 and which has been less than open and honest in its engagement with the techie communities.
What’s wrong Phorm?
Do you think that I am not allowed to have an opinion?
Sadly for you I am and I am free to express it. I prefer to make my own judgements based on what I see and I do not like what I am seeing from Phorm and other DPI peddlers. So I am highlighting what I dislike. And still waiting for a response to my challenge. One tactic which Phorm have tried with their PR and now this pathetic smear campaign site is an old one, summed up with a simple phrase:
“If they can’t win on the facts, they’ll dominate the media discourse.”
Of course, when more people write about Phorm in forums, in weblogs and the mainstream media, dominating the media discourse becomes increasingly difficult. That is why Phorm have descended to the depths of a smear campaign.
Tell me Phorm, Kent and the pro-Phormers, where is the evil, malicious, unethical untrustworthiness on my part here in this blog? Where is the smear campaign on my part?
I can’t see any. I see verifiable facts linked to references.
Don’t forget that this isn’t personal against Phorm. They just happen to have tried the spin, bluster and obfuscation approach, failed with that and, unable to provide that legal opinion I’ve been asking for over the last year or so, have sunk to the levels of desperation and a smear campaign. And have rightly attracted deserved criticism for so doing.
This is about ensuring that governments of whatever colour enforce the law to prevent such use of DPI.
Interestingly enough there are reports that the UK “government” want to increase the fines faced by those guilty of infringing intellectual property. That must surely include Phorm. As a site owner I have only their word that they will not “profile” my websites even though there is a clear refusal of permission to do so.
With the amount of discussion going on, some people may be wondering what the issue is. Alexander Hanff explains, while writing about Phorm’s complete lack of respect for privacy (my emphasis here):
For the past 15 months Phorm have been telling the world that they are creating a revolution in privacy and that privacy is at the core of their model; but let’s look at the reality for a few minutes.
Phorm’s WebWise technology will intercept all non-encrypted, web based communications for all users of their partner ISPs (except those who figure out how to opt-out). That means every web based email you send and every web site you visit including social networking sites.
This allows them to build up a very thorough profile of you, much more thorough than the profile they have of me and the others they have targetted on the Stop Phoul Play smear web site.
So lets look at Phorm’s history when it comes to dealing with personal data….
Be sure to read the rest of this entry. Every website you visit. Think about that for a few minutes. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, LiveJournal – every page that doesn’t start https:// will be scanned. A friend showed me their LiveJournal. First thing I noticed was that the pages weren’t encrypted.
Every website you visit. Politics, health, work, finance. Every aspect of your life is up for scanning by Webwise.
We only have Phorm’s word that the sites wishing to “opt-out” will not be scanned. To me that word is meaningless. I judge people and organisations by what I experience, what I see for myself.
Phorm’s attempted slur of “privacy pirate” is meaningless: it lacks meaning and substance. Rather like that verifiable legal opinion I’ve been challenging Phorm for this last year or so.
One can only be honourable when one behaves with honour in the first place.