UK Officials Accused Of Colluding With Phorm

from the that-would-not-be-good dept

While the US quickly condemned clickstream tracking as a likely violation of privacy, many were quite surprised when UK officials went in the other direction, suggesting that Phorm's tracking was legal. The European Commission was so annoyed by this that it's taking legal action against the UK for privacy violations. But, still, many people are wondering why the UK government said something like Phorm was legal... and now accusations are coming out that it's because UK government officials let Phorm take part in writing the policy. There are a bunch of incriminating emails between the Home Office and Phorm, including one where officials ask Phorm execs if they would be "comforted" by the position the gov't was about to take. In another, the officials ask Phorm to review the document and give feedback, prior to the gov't releasing the actual policy. Talk about regulatory capture... The government, for its part, claims that people are misreading the emails, but it's difficult to see how the emails can be misread when they blatantly ask Phorm to review the document, and inquire whether the company and its partners will be comforted by the ruling.

Update: On top of this, it appears that Phorm is now lashing out at critics, claiming that they're "smear merchants" and "privacy pirates." That sounds convincing...
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Filed Under: behavioral advertising, collusion, privcy
Companies: phorm

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  1. icon
    chris (profile), 29 Apr 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: privacy pirates

    I guess that pirate now stands for someone who is vocal and active in supporting what they believe, be it free music downloads, convenient gaming, or privacy.

    no, pirate means anyone who denies a corporation the profits it believes it is entitled to, regardless of the direction the market has moved in.

    if you download movies, music or software, those industries believe that those downloads are all lost sales, and that they have been denied profits on those sales. that is the corporate definition of music/movie/software piracy.

    phorm believes that information about your browsing habits belongs to them, and that advocating for your privacy is denying them profits. that is the definition of privacy piracy.

    this opens a new door of orwellian newspeak possibilities:

    if you use a cell phone instead of buying a land line telephone, you are a phone pirate.

    if you watch hulu instead of subscribing to basic cable, you are a TV pirate.

    if you read news online instead of buying papers, you are a news pirate.

    if you advocate for electric cars, you are a fuel pirate.

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