back to article Orange ditches Phorm

Orange, the UK's sixth largest broadband provider, is not going to use Phorm's data-snooping technology. Paul-Francois Fournier told the FT: “Privacy is in our DNA, so we need to be honest and clear about what we are doing. We have decided not to be in Phorm because of that... The way it was proposed, the privacy issue was too …


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  1. Jim Carter

    If this is true

    Whilst the immediate future may not be bright, at least there is a glimmer of sanity out there... ish. I wonder how long this Phorm thing is going to roll on for.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Good on them!

    "Fournier said the company would talk to customers about what data they would be happy to hand over, and what they would want in return."

    This is fair enough, if Orange want to offer incentives to people who are willing to "share" their data with them then that's fine, as long as they are up-front about what's involved and the customer has real choice in the matter.

    As for the rest of the ISPs involved with Phorm; follow Orange's lead and walk away now.

  3. Sam


    Is it too early to open a bottle?

    I'm off to laugh at the share price..

  4. Mike Crawshaw

    I feel dirty for saying it,

    but, here goes.

    "Well done Orange. Thank you."

    yeeuch. Mine's the one with the shower gel and scrubbing brush...

  5. Marco
    Thumb Up

    Nice One Orange

    If your service wasn't so shit I would think about moving to you ;)

  6. dervheid
    Thumb Up

    Message to Orange.

    "what data they would be happy to hand over"; NONE

    "what they would want in return"; No Snooping or tracking whatsoever.

    Congrats on dumping Phorm however.


    "Privacy is in our DNA, so we need to be honest and clear about what we are doing"


    <cough, cough cough> HAhhahahaahahahahahahahahaaaa.

    That is all.

  8. Tony Paulazzo


    Whatever else you believe, believe this: Where America goes, the UK follows. Nebuad died in the USA, IE8 is promising privacy on your surfing, YaGooSoft is talking about human rights & privacy issues.

    Once - if, Phorm rolls out there will be Firefox (and doubtless Chrome) addins to screw their data up (Google won't let anyone stitch up their advertising revenue), and once the advertisers realise the product isn't working they will pull out. BT and whoever will ditch them once they see no marketing revenue coming in, then the EU will declare the practice illegal - six months after it folds.

    Privacy of the global internet surfer is becoming a hot topic at the moment, and the NuLaborOverlords will have to tow the line eventually.

  9. Jethro

    where did this go?

    Is it just me or doesn't ICAP give operators a way of implementing these kind of value added services?

    Why bother with someone like Phorm!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just a thought...

    I'd be interested to know how long will it be, and what will it take, for all those who do not sign up for services that subsidise their revenue by selling user data (which is what it come down to?) to become pariahs and be charged extra for their privacy (which they wont actually have anyway).

    See for why privacy as we have known it will become a myth.

    In the meantime a big tick for Orange. Just improve your mobile phone offerings and you may retain me as a customer and get my landline & internet business.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Trials

    Any news on how BT's trials are failing (I mean going)?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headline grabbers

    First the PR schmooz to bathe orange in a rosy glow of 'defender of privacy' type saintliness, followed by a rather quieter announcement that they've signed up for an even more stealth way of turning punters habits into banknotes. And the annoucement might just generate a few more bums on seats to be snared by Oranges ludicrous contracts.

    Orange, like every other business will do what's good for their bottom line; nothing more, nothing less. Until something better turns up, when an about-face will cause them few moral dilemmas.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @Jim Carter: 11.39

    "I wonder how long this Phorm thing is going to roll on for."

    Can't see it lasting into the new year - given the way their share price has been tanking. Some shares traded yesterday at 30p Mwahhh

    GO, because that's what Phorm should do.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Finally something cheerful

    Let's keep the bubbly on ice for when that piece of rancid sputum pushing Phorm finally has to find a lawful way of making a living, preferably something involving the phrase "Would you like fries with that?"

  15. Ad Fundum
    Thumb Up

    Give me some of that ker-ching and I might consider it ...

    I think, if I was honest, there are probably certain things I would hand over if I thought the deal suited me as well. For example; I wouldn't mind handing over the details of my Amazon searches if I thought I was getting some money knocked off my broadband connection by my ISP.

    I mean, let's be honest; how many people have actually clicked on a sidebar ad or a splash ad, and gone on to buy something? If people want to display them, give me something in return AND my privacy is respected within the boundaries of whatever I agree with them, then fair enough.

    The part that really gets my goat is that these adverts aren't improving my web experience, nor is it making my surfing any safer; it's just increasing revenues for the ISP. I have to pay to download your targetted ad, so give me a cut and be honest about it, and I'll be a lot happier.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phorm Chondom

    Any chance that someone can create a "Phorm Chondom" Addin for Firefox where it will send random dictionary data and site names back to yahoo/ms/google for searches so that the data that they collect will be complete rubbish?

    It would be funny to see what ad's they can serve up to you if all they are getting in the system are random search terms and site retrievals, a little box in the corner to show you what is being currently sent and how long before that ad is served, plus if everyone was using it their systems would run flat out.

    As they say: shit in - shit out!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's nice

    Now if I can get an apology out of their technical support line for telling me to "Install windows XP" before they'd tell me if their broadband service was working or not, I'll be set.

    Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was last week, and I'm running Vista.

  18. N

    Defender of privacy?

    First, well done Orange for ditching spyware company Phorm

    But making statements such as "Privacy is in our DNA" is complete corporate bollox, if anyone believes that sort of drivel, they need their heads examining

    and finally, please sort out your service, its crap

  19. Dave Ross

    A good start...

    now we need to pursuade Virgin to ditch them too!

  20. Secretgeek
    Thumb Down

    If anyone needs any more cheering up.

    I just had a chuckle at Phorms share price dropping like a sack of shit thrown from the back of Hercules from 3500 to sub 200 in 6 months.


    Going down!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    a positive step

    we just need more of these steps so we can get a walk going...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    6th Largest ISP?

    Not for long, with this news they may well gain a few places!

    Finally some one cares about privacy, or rather they realized they will lose revenue with all the subscribers leaving as soon as phorm got implemented there.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    New Toluna Poll Re: Phorm

    What is your opinion of the UK authorities response to BT's covert trials and the ongoing deployment of Phorm's Webwise technology?

    Ignore the grammar and spelling mistakes. ;)

  24. Phil A
    Thumb Up


    Thank you Orange, some sanity at last - let's hope the rest of them follow suit as soon as possible. I don't pay my ISP to spy on my surfing habits - if they do then I'll leave for an ISP that doesn't...

  25. Adrian Midgley

    Did VIrgin start running something

    a month or so ago?

    Or are the oddities on my connection unrelated?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Phorm Trials

    Remember them? Has anyone here know of a BT customer who got roped into the trials?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mike Richards - BT Phorm Trials

    You know that old hippy crap about a tree falling over and no-one is there to hear it?

    I bet you can do some EZPZ profiling with peoples phone bills and DOB's so you can be sure that 10,000 volunteers on your trial have next to no IT knowledge beyond phoning AOL or Dixons or PC world support lines.

    None of the braney clevaclogz such as we will get asked. Or our friends, assuming we have any.

  28. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    I'd be more than glad to...

    ...allow the use of my personal info by my ISP for a non-negotiable fee of $US250,000 per use.

    If I catch you using it without my consent, I'll sue for punitive damages of $US10M per use.

    Take it or leave it.

  29. Dangermouse

    @Adrian Midgley

    I've noticed some odd things on my VM connection as well - London, if your're interested.

  30. anonymous sms

    BT/Phorm Customers

    your future is Orange.

    I also read with interest today how BT ripped the MOD(tax payer) off with their call centre scam. Is this really the type of company that we should trusted with our private data.

  31. Wokstation

    Oh RLY?

    "We never comment about specific discussions with any ISP, but based on conversations we've had with many ISPs both in the UK and internationally, we are very confident that in due course this technology is something that most of them will chose to adopt."

    So they've not been bragging about having BT, TalkTalk and Virgin onboard then...?

    Another Phorm lie? Shirley not!

  32. dave
    Thumb Up

    Well done Orange

    for pulling out yet i still do not trust them to do the right thing. With these large corporations the ONLY thing that matters is the bottom line and they will screw their own grandmothers to get a better deal or to rip us off. Orange is not different. I still applaud them for not going anywhere near phorm after looking at the potential problems that could arise, I.E customers leaving in the thousands. I left BT so BT can stuff it and i am not surprised at all that they ripped off the MOD, who will not punish them at all for these breaches, with their call centre scams. PHUCK PHORM and PHUCK BT

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Crap for sale

    "Fournier said the company would talk to customers about what data they would be happy to hand over, and what they would want in return"

    Good words, but will the customers actually get anything worth having?

    My problem with the whole concept of data pimping is that they're essentially taking something that's mine (my browsing history - I made it, it's my personal work, without me it wouldn't exist) and selling it to someone else.

    If it's that fecking valuable come make me an offer, for a bit extra I'll make the rights exclusive.


  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. kain preacher


    The clamidia of the net. Remember while on the net practice safe computing..

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Orange still use mobile browsing profilers!

    Well that's just great that Orange have dumped Phorm.

    Now how about they dump Xiam, so your mobile browsing isn't profiled!

    stop this and I may go back to them!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The core of the issue... not so much about what people are willing to give in exchange for something, as it is about expecting some level of privacy and control (unfortunately, in the real world, this isn't exactly the case).

    The problem w/ phorm's approach was that not only were the users have to opt-out, instead of opt-in (and let's not forget they weren't informed properly and asked for consent in the first place), but regardless of such consent, users net traffic would still go thru phorm's system.

    Such companies (ie, phorm) should NEVER have direct access to user's net traffic. Their system should be separate from the ISP's and the routing of traffic (for user's who ONLY opted-in) should be routed to such companies only by the ISP itself.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    New Marketing Campaig for Orange

    "Sign up with Orange today - the spyware free ISP"

  39. wabbit02
    Black Helicopters

    Unfortunatly - google is to blame

    Carriers/ ISPs are being forced down the route of having to sell content - in this case advertising as the subscription model has been undercut by everyone and their dog. Google with its hugely philanthropic gesture (or overtures) of getting in to the carrier space and offering free access has traditional carriers scared.

    In truth the main loser form add insertion at the carrier layer are company's like Google - why would someone pay to have an advert on a website with little contextual input when they could have it profiled and sent to the user. The main issue form the users perspective is that they don't want to profiled - but anyone who currently uses Google is being - its just that they are incrementing features and functionality rather than one big bang approach.

    So your choices are;

    get free or discounted ISP rental with advertising


    get free Google access with advertising.

    as providing a un-subsidised ISP/ access method is the niche NOT the other way around - 99% of the population will go for the free version - so no company can afford run a service for 1%. Most of the ISP's now (talk talk, orange, SKY, BT) are giving subsidised access to protect their voice revues - they make little or no money from providing the ISP service. As VoIP usage increases this subsidisation will have to drift away - or the dreaded packet engineering come in to play - but again with Google lobbing everyone and there dog for net neutrality (which is a bit of a joke anyway) they are losing this possible revenue stream as well.

    Both will use roughly the same level of profiling its about who you trust to hold your data (and personally there's allot more legal constraints on an ISP that there is on an American cloud company).

  40. Tony Paulazzo
    Black Helicopters

    This Title is Copyright 2008

    >"Once - if, Phorm rolls out there will be Firefox (and doubtless Chrome) addins to screw their data up."

    ... already is..<

    Cheers, installed. I'm with BT. Just waiting for them to change their T&C before attempting to break contract. I've not been invited into the great Phorm test, but I have been watching out for any dodgy redirects and not seen anything. To be totally honest, if BT elect to follow thru on opted out customers not passing thru Phorm equipment I'll probably stay -

    - I'm a local engineer for local people, and the horrors of the other ISPs round here (West Yorkshire) of my customers, don't enamour me to them. I Usenet and P2P (Linux distros of course), and BTs traffic shaping only noticeably occur early evening and parts of the weekend. Their T&C explicity say they don't mind P2P but will slow it down at these times and I think that's fair enough.

  41. Andrew Meredith
    Thumb Up

    Round of applause to Orange

    No .. That's it thanks. Good on 'em.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Ian Livingston not taking responsibility for Phorm

    Ian Livingston (understandably) doesn't seem to want to associate himself with Phorm. None of the major press articles about him or BT ever mention Phorm. The board refuses to answer the question of who was responsible for Phorm when asked at the AGM.

    This needs to change.

    See this image?:

    Please download it and host it on your website, with the <img> tag containing alt text which reads: alt="Ian Livingston".

    We want any Google Image searches for Ian Livingston to return that image.

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