back to article Phorm opponents to picket BT shareholders

Opponents of BT's involvement with Phorm will protest outside its annual general meeting in London in July in a bid to alert investors to alleged wiretap law-breaking. The campaigners want BT to pull out of plans to intercept its broadband customers' web browsing and searches and profile them for targeted advertising. They …


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  1. Steven
    Thumb Down

    Glad my BT contract ends next month.

    Saves me having to pay to cancel early if they don't drop Phorm on its arse.

  2. Gordon Pryra
    Black Helicopters

    Sod the eggs and flour

    I'll be building the scaffold and tying the noose the day before ready for the filthy lawbreaking scum!

    Can you hear the sound of helicopters taking the Labour MP's and their friends who benefit financially to their safe house?

  3. anonymous sms

    BT pays £1.75m for call centre fraud

    As reported in Daily Mail on 27 May 2008. This was only revealed after somebody used the Freedom of Information Act on the MOD.

    BT had used four of their call centres to defraud the tax payer out of £10 million over a number of years.


  4. dervheid
    Thumb Up

    It was nice to see the issue raised...

    on 'The Gadget Show' on Monday Night.

    Just a shame that this show is probably quite low down on the ratings, but any exposure of this issue in the mainstream media (ok, it WAS channel 5) can only be A Good Thing.

    The PFY's obscenity filter would work nicely with Kent <slam>......

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Away day at the Barbican

    See y'all there.

  6. James Pickett
    Thumb Down


    "continue to wonder what that advice might have been"

    Shades of the Attorney General's advice to Blair about the Iraq War, which no-one appears to have seen, either. If I was Ms Sanderson, I'd look for a job that didn't require me to lie for my employer every five minutes...

  7. Alexander Hanff

    Call to Action

    I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to attend the protest, it is set to be a very interesting day. I am in the process of organising guest speakers to give presentations during the lunch time period outside the Barbican.

    We plan to start at 10am to catch shareholders on their way into the AGM, then after the speeches we are heading down to BT's HQ where the protest will continue.

    Throughout the day a petition calling for action from the Metropolitan Police with regards to the covert trials in 2006/2007, will be available for people to sign and will be presented to the Met at the end of the day along with the case file.

    This is a very important issue not just because of the illegal trials of 2006/2007 but also in light of the current Net Neutrality debate, the mission creep possible with this DPI technology is very sinister in light of that debate as well as regards to privacy issues.

    Finally, I would like to thank Chris once again for his dedication to this issue over the past 3 months.

    Alexander Hanff

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    Pedantry moment.

    "...alleged illegal trials...."

    Surely that should read "allegedly illegal trials"? AFAIK the existance or not of the trials is not in question, it's the legality of the trials that is.

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Up

    @ Alex Hanff

    Hey Alex, fully support your protest and wish it well.

    Just a thought - most of the people who bother to attend these shareholders meetings are only bothered about seeing maximum return for their buck; and might not (read "probably don't") care about HOW BT makes a profit, and therefore shrug you, and the Phorm issue off as an annoyance.

    Was just wondering what you expect to gain from this protest as it may be preaching to the unconvertable...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg Meet?

    I'm planning on leaving the UK soon - I've had enough. But El Reg has been a candle in the darkness during the last 10 years here. I think I'll try and make it down and put my money where my mouth is. The UK is a darkening place and I worry what lies in store for it. The (by and large) sane comments from the readership of El Reg have cheered me up when so many changes to this country have gotten me down. Unfortunately I think the British mentality is too often to roll over and put up with things, and this is taking you somewhere you really don't want to be. Having visited Germany as a child I often wondered how such an amicable and intelligent lot could have been so led astray. I often wondered how did such madness as the Nazis arise? But now I see that it happens quite easily, in slow creeping steps, incremental changes, each individually meaning little but whose sum is far worse then the parts. Anyways I'd encourage any El Reg reader who can make it to show up and take this opportunity to make your voices heard (literally) and lets hit the pub afterwards! I'm sure we can find something to talk about (Apple vs Microsoft? Tabs vs Spaces?)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Please invite Kent Ertugrul as a speaker

    From what I have read and seen so far, he is the best anti Phorm speaker I have experienced so far.

    OK... so what if he is Phorms CEO - who cares, the end justifies the means. Every time he opens his mouth more and more people seem to hate Phorm.

    Paris? because she loves a deep packet inspection.

  12. Law

    I want to go, but not worth going because...

    the police will just confiscate my sign and arrest me, or call me a terrorist and arrest me, or claim I assaulted them and arrest me, either way - I will get arrested - don't people realise there is no such thing as free-speech in the UK any more!! :'(

    icon: the burning pile of picket signs after being confiscated by our masters

  13. Liam
    Thumb Up

    just make sure...

    you dont refer to phorm as a dangerous cult...

    maybe a t-shirt saying 'i dont want these cu*ts snooping on me!'

    you go it boys and bring this company down!

  14. Jez Caudle

    The date of the AGM

    Did I miss something as I didn't see the actual date of the AGM posted any where.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    I hope I can be forgiven for not joining the demo until after I have left the shareholders meeting?

    Mines the one with the awkward questions in the pocket.

  16. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Up

    re @Alexander

    I can't deny having a bit of a laugh on reading that comment. Please make yourself known when you come out, it would be interesting to hear how the AGM went.

    Alexander Hanff

  17. Alexander Hanff


    The AGM is 16th July starting at 10:30am. We plan to start the protest around 10am so we can catch some of the shareholders on their way in.

    Alexander Hanff

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Who cares?

    This'll have no impact, the police won't uphold the law, the opposition aren't interested, there's nothing you can do about it.

    I've gone from wondering what the hell I can do about this to the personal and private information equivalent of pulling a goatsie.

    <-- Closest icon to a Goatsie.

  19. phormwatch

    BT AGM Protest details

    "Press Release: Protest BT's AGM Meeting in London July 16th

    There will be a demonstration at the Barbican in London on July 16th 2008 (outside the BT AGM) protesting against the use of Deep Packet Inspection for the purpose of behavioural advertising (specifically Phorm).

    I am trying to gather some key guest speakers for the event and have already received interest from representatives in the ISP industry.

    Details will be posted on in the next week.

    I am hoping for a significant press and media presence and it is looking like a lot of people are going to turn up.

    Alexander Hanff"

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    See K*nt, Alex and Richard Clayton

    Unedited footage of the public meeting last month is at - see K*nt fail to convincingly answer any of the issues while Alex and Richard show clearly why Phorm is illegal.

    @GameCoder: I've said in comments elsewhere that the "government" is following the tricks of the National Socialist regime - find something you don't like, demonise it and then legislate against it, ignoring fairness, giving you the means to lock up those they dislike if they haven't already left the country. The silent majority, thinking they aren't affected do nothing. Until the government comes for them as in Martin Niemoller's prophetic piece.

    New is to Labour as National is to Socialism.

  21. g e


    By happy coincidence BT called yesterday to see if they could get me to switch back - I use Nildram currently for ADSL and Phonecalls

    'But we're cheaper than your adsl provider by 4 quid'

    "Yes, but I'd never use BT for internet because of Phorm. Therefore I won't switch and your phonecalls immediately increase my bills by 21 quid a month as they won't replace my current ISP, just add to it"

    It was a heart warming moment to be able to tell them that I can tell y'all.

  22. RW

    Are all protestors shareholders?

    And if not, why not? What does one share of BT cost? If you have it, you are a shareholder and can then wear your cu*ts t-shirt inside the meeting, circulate among other, perhaps ignorant, shareholders spreading the news about management's lack of basic ethics, ask questions from the floor, and otherwise make a pest of yourself, quite legally.

    The strategy is enhanced by wearing appropriate garb, whatever other shareholders wear.

    To really have fun, hire a sympathetic lawyer to accompany you in case they try to give you a bum's rush and provide him with proxy documents so when they eject you into the street, he (she?) can continue the madness.

    Penguins can dream, can't they?

    Is our penguin icon a Linux penguin or is it a Berk Breathed Opus penguin in drag?

  23. Peter White
    Thumb Up

    perhap we can make main stream media

    this is what is needed to make the general public aware of webwise / phorm and how invasive to privacy it is

    up until now it has been in I.T. media like here on El Reg and forums, to make a difference we have to get the information out to the masses.

    a good bit of prime time TV coverage of the demo outside BT's AGM would go a long way to that

    unfortunately i personally can't make the demo

    keep up the good work chris, and best of luck alex


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't physically get to the barbican

    (bummer) but best of luck.

    Update: Otelo replied that my query (did BT do secret trials with phorm and pass data over) was not within their remit to investigate and I should go to the information commissioner, which I shall.

    It only took them 6 weeks to respond and say "it's nowt to do wi' us, guvn'r, talk to 'im ovva there". Sigh. Bloody waste of time.

  25. Rachel

    writing to representatives

    I contacted my MSP and MP about this, and received nice responses. By far the most charming came from the Earl of Northesk, who wrote to thank me for taking an interest in his work and his dedication to the rights for individuals as opposed to corporate gain.

    Made me smile.

  26. Steve

    Shareholder resolution?

    What about getting enough shareholders to sign up to put an anti-phorm resolution on the AGM agenda? Then lobby the institutional shareholders.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "the British mentality is too often to roll over and put up with things", and isn't that true.

    There's too much of "I can't do anything and it won't make a difference if I did so I won't try".




    Well done @Law and @JonB

  28. peter

    RE: @ Alex Hanff

    Their share price seems to crash after bad news gets out and reviews are called for, the shareholders may be looking only for profit, but they are not as blind as you portray.

    Protests can only damage Phorm further.

  29. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Up

    NoDPI Web Site is now up with some information on it.

    The look of the site is likely to change over the next week once a more suitable theme has been developed.

  30. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Up

    Shameless Digg request

    If people would like to help publicise the event, please Digg it on the following URL. If we can make front page on Digg the news should go viral in just a few hours.


    Alexander Hanff

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a shareholder you could go in as well

    Shareprice is about 2.22 at the mo.

    That would be quite a sight, all the demonstrators popping on into the AGM as well :)

  32. Art Hawkes

    Jacqui Smith perPhorming a non-U turn?

    Finally had a reply from my MP, a photocopy of a letter to him from Jacqui Smith explaining why no government department could or would take any action against Phorm. Although not stated in her letter, the reason is now clear. The government wants to snoop all our browsing and emails and has enacted legislation to oblige all ISPs to hand over all our information. I have always assumed that my online activity was intercepted and filtered for trigger words. I suspect that any self-respecting turrist group would assume the same and proceed accordingly.

    Beware of pickpockets!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jacqui Smith perPhorming a non-U turn?

    Can you clarify, esp. the bit about 'why no government department could or would take any action against Phorm'. What exactly was said?

  34. Dom

    Will it make a difference?

    Lets look at this one.

    No Gov is going to pass up the opportunity to be able to spy on the masses. I wrote to my MP (Con). I got a reply, telling me that he would ask the Home Office what was going on - no reply since.

    The Labour Gov. is bringing this in (thru Phorm), but the other main parties are not going to object too much, knowing the full potential of this moment. Why do you think it hasn't been splashed all over the 9/10 o' clock news? After all, we have a major corporation (BT) commiting a CRIMINAL act, yet the Police, DPP, Home Office etc have REFUSED to do anything. Why? Maybe a question for the likes of Sky and ITV? BBC being state run and completely unable to create any program - even the News - that is objective and balanced. Click's interview with Kent proved that! No, it is left to the likes of El Reg to carry the light - how much good it will do us I don't know......

    Just remember this statistic - this contry has less than 1% of the World's population, but MORE THAN 30% of it's CCTV cameras. That is something that has not happened by mistake. These people don't go for a dump without a plan.......

  35. Clive Galway
    Thumb Up


    Bring it on, I went short on 1K Phorm shares and am laughing all the way to the bank! And, being a CFD, it's only 25% margin. LOL, Free Money!

    May go down and protest myself, the more shareholders that sell the better for me :)

    Funnily enough, my broker is no longer accepting sell orders for Phorm Inc, wonder why ? :P

  36. fon

    Is it just the terrorists and paranoid here??

    surely, if you have a good firewall, so that your PC is basically not detectable, and your IP is *nothing* like the real one, and all packets are inspected for content, to say nothing about all cookies and content cleared or just rejected, why the problem???

    - NO, nothing special, you can buy this from maplin for £40... have a look at the netgear stuff..

    why all the fuss??? no, really, what is the difference from all the OTHER ways of tracking usage???

    And if the clueless gov. is hoping to use this to track all the dubious groups, then what about the 'wireless router hidden in false wall' trick that will stop even the experts knowing where the PC is??

    I suppose it is poor joe pubilc that will have to suffer again, from this stupidity...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Give it up citizen...

    We want ALL your personal data, yes ALL of it!

  38. fon

    well they dont get mine (see my last post)

    I do not know about the *loonies* who leave their PC on 24/7 though... talk about a B I G target!!!

    regularly clearing your temp data (most will do it for you, no thought involved except settittng it! ) and switching off your PC will be greener, and safer! :) :)

  39. Anonymous Coward


    "well they dont get mine (see my last post)"

    regretably you still dont seem to understand the Phorm gifted "Deep Packet Inspection/interception" "Man in the middle" "wiretapping" directly connected at the other end of YOUR ISP payed for Broadband wire, or how it works.

    NO amount of firewalls or any other protections you place at your end of the wire will help you here, perhaps not even generic encryption if they also use some other kit to offload that part in the future....

    "....The "deep" in deep packet inspection refers to the fact that these boxes don't simply look at the header information as packets pass through them.

    Rather, they move beyond the IP and TCP header information to look at the payload of the packet.

    The goal is to identify the applications being used on the network, but some of these devices can go much further; those from a company like Narus, for instance, can look inside all traffic from a specific IP address, pick out the HTTP traffic, then drill even further down to capture only traffic headed to and from Gmail, and can even reassemble e-mails as they are typed out by the user....."

    BTW do we knw the make and model No of this gifted DPI kit chris?....

  40. Alex

    Out of sight, out of mind?

    I wonder what the public reaction would be if BT had to use van's parked outside peoples homes?

    How much it would cost to produce a large (non-damaging) sticker/transfer that could be applied to those green telecoms boxes found at the end of most streets?

    something big simple and clear like:

    "BT intend to use this network to spy on all of your internet usage and then sell your web usage for advertising purposes - STOP WEBWISE/PHORM NOW"

    If it was possible to buy the stickers on line then I'd happily buy a pack and "Inphorm" my neighborhood!!

  41. fon

    ahh, a reply... missing the point though..

    yada yada yada... all the beefing about the tech, about how they are 'spying on us' etc.... sure... If you do not yet understand that doing *anything* on the internet is like standing up in the main square, shouting about it using a megaphone....

    - and all you are worried about, is someone hearing your 'shopping list' ????

    It is a bit like using a credit card... they *know* where you are, what shops you use.... are you really that bothered if they know how many times you visted the 'massage parlour' ?? :D

    and I will ask again, about phorm, why all the fuss??? what IS the difference from all the OTHER ways of tracking usage???

    I am NOT saying that 'for effect' - I WANT TO KNOW!!!

    STILL no-one has explained what the difference is... is it only the paranoid, and those trying to download masses from from thier ISP, who naturally want to track malicious users that do not want to pay a fair price???

  42. Alex

    and so to the courts we go!

  43. Eponymous Cowherd


    Want to know why Phorm is different from other use tracking? Try looking at it from a non Phorm-aligned web shop's point of view.

    Phorm will be able to watch the activities of customers on your site and make use of that information. This is broadly equivalent to, for example, Tesco being able to view the activities of a Sainsburys customer as they shop at Sainsburys.

    If this were to actually happen there would be a *massive* outcry. Why should tracking other shop's customers be wrong on the hight street but, courtesy of Phorm, OK on the WWW?

  44. alphaxion


    yes you can be tracked by any number of different schemes every day. Though most of them you can choose to not use, this system you can't choose to not use it as it taps your data stream directly. All of your stream, regardless of what port you are using - right now they're restricting themselves to port 80.

    The reason why we are complaining about this one is the scope of it - this technology can be used to "sanitise" the contents of what you are reading in order to remove passages that they don't like. It can be used to alter that which you are submitting to the net.

    It can be used to force you into paying more for access to certain pages - I'm sure the government would love to block everyone from accessing 4chan/b/ for example.

    At the moment, they are only using it to collect behavioural activity, which IS identifiable even if it doesn't have your name on it, in order to sell advertising. Mission creep will always set in and you can bet the phorm we see today will be different in what it tracks to the phorm of tomorrow. They're profiting from your activities while not giving you a share of the pie - where is the incentive to use? And a measly £4 off really doesn't cut it.

    Then we get the "even if you opt out, you're still profiled" issue to deal with.

    This all contributes to a massive breach of your basic right to privacy and your right to freedom (since the potential for censorship is massive with this technology) as well as the potential to see you being persecuted for the type of information you consume.

    Sure, it's over worrying quite a bit, but to be blunt the price of freedom is in being ever vigilent against schemes like this so that you don't lose that which is of extreme importance to you (freedom and privacy).

  45. William Morton

    Leaked documents on wikileak



    Suprise the register didnt release these earlier

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