back to article Phorm: BT system 'most definitely' online by end of 2009

Phorm CEO Kent Ertugrul has announced his firm's ISP-level adware system will "most definitely" be live across the BT broadband network by the end of 2009. BT seems less sure. In an interview with the financial newswire Dow Jones, Ertugrul said: "We're not able to comment on specific timings but our work with BT is the most …


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  1. 7mark7

    I doubt that ...

    ... even their website will be on-line at the end of 2009.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Silence is Not! Golden

    Oh what joy it is to hear

    Of BT's Post Christmas cheer

    You'll all have Phorm ,

    and we'll all cry,

    just try it matey

    while my lawyers say hi!

  3. psychochief

    rap talk or wat ?? :O)

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  4. psychochief

    suicide mission :O)

    bloody arseholes, i for one will be taking my mac code elswhere, ffs more orwellian $hite, WTFs going on in the UK, this is the final straw, pick up thy mac codes and walk my children !!!!!!! :O)

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Algorithm Wars..... aka the Grooming of Nations*

    "said BT Group chief press officer Adam Liversage ....... Asked whether BT agreed with Ertugrul's statement Liversage said: "I neither agree nor disagree with it in the absence of any further information." Clear?"

    What do you expect whenever you talk to the monkey and not the organ grinder.

    Seems like Phorm is going to be dished out whether you like it or not. Please take your medicine and the nurse/doctor/consultant/undertaker will call back later and see how you are progressing.

    * A Development which renders Governments Puny Pawns in the Intelligent Communications Game. And played well, [which is not a BT forte] something which delivers a totally fair, unfair advantage.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just left BT

    And gave them the reason that Phorm was an imposition too far. A couple of days later I got a follow-up to check the MAC code migration was going smoothly and the BT person asked me why I was leaving. So I told them.

    'Yes I understand,' she replied, 'you do know a lot of ISPs are going to be doing the same thing?' When I said I did know that and had chosen one without Phorm her reply came as a pleasant surprise. 'Well you've explained it very clearly to me and I can see why you might be upset. I'm osrry we've let you down on this matter.'

    My switch should have taken place this afternoon, so hopefully the house hasn't burned down and I have working broadband.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Richards

    Well, they never asked me why I was leaving.

    But then, having chased them about their illegal trials through their complaints procedure, then ISPA, then OTELO, then the ICO, well, they probably had sussed it by then.

    Actually, that's giving them credit for a brain big enuff to suss something with.

    My mistake. They just forgot.

  8. Lionel Baden

    is there a way

    to completly screw with phorm yet ???

    i would love a small program i can leave running all night just to bugger up their statistics and make it all pointless

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Legal question

    Any lawyers out there ? Is this a change to the terms and conditions - i.e. can I terminate the contract with BT because they are doing this without my permission?

    Here it is:

    I'm worried about para 21.2:

    "21.2 If you give us notice that ends, or we end this contract under paragraphs 11.6 or 16, during the first 12 months from the date that the service is activated and available for you to use (other than because we have increased our charges or changed the conditions of this contract to your detriment) you must pay all charges payable for any remaining period of that 12 months."

    BT have not written to me to let me know they intend to do this. If they had, I would invoke the following para:

    2. How this contract can be changed

    "We may change this contract, including our charges, at any time. We will give you at least 28 days notice of any changes before they take effect. As explained in paragraph 21, you can end this contract by giving us seven days notice if we increase our charges or change the conditions of this contract to your detriment. "

    Which ISP will definitely not go down the Phorm route?

  10. Richard
    Thumb Down


    I used to hold BT in awe, but they have got to the point where they suck so much that Paris couldn't take it any more.

    The Phorm issue and the widespread interference that PLT are causing to HF are two issues. Oh well, since Portishead Radio closed down, BT don't give a flying fcuk about HF spectrum any more.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Says it all really.

    Adam Liversage statement clarified by amanfromMars.

  12. alan


    does anyone know of a comprehensive list of every ISP and their dogs that are going to be jumping on this ad-supported band wagon?

    eg PlusNet, as they are owned by BT?

    that aside, i propose a new synonym - phorm and phale.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I for one ...

    Have successfully taken my MAC code elsewhere after eighteen months of shittier and shittier service, evil sales people calling me up at 10pm (even though I am on TPS they obviously take the view it doesn't apply to them) and a very expensive monthly outlay for the worst broadband performance I've ever seen. A dial up would have been as quick.

    Good fucking riddance. Now all I need to do is get shot of my BT landline.

  14. Adair Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Is there a way to completely screw with phorm yet????

    @ Lionel Bowden

    The only thing I know of which comes close is the 'TrackMeNot' plugin for Firefox, which sends out bogus and randomly generated web searches (at a user defined frequency), thus effectively hiding your own genuine searches in a morass of plausible crap.

  15. Rog69
    Thumb Up

    'most definitely'

    I'll be 'most definitely' online with a new ISP by end of March when my contracted period with the shower of c*&^$s is up.

  16. spam
    Thumb Down

    I used to hold BT in awe

    Can I have some of what he was smoking?

    BT have consistently abused their monopoly position as much as they were able, charging as much as possible for as little as possible and were happy to keep Britain's information superhighway looking more like an expensive muddy track for as long as they possibly could.

    I have hated them with every ounce of my body for decades.

    That they are at the forefront of a scheme to make money by abusing their customers came as no surprise to me. I will be surprised if they are not running some kind of Phorm by the end of the year disguised with some anti-peedyfile veneer and given a name like safesurf, or websafe, or some other newspeak bollocks.

  17. Jess

    Won't this just lead to more people using Tor

    and similar systems that hide your browsing?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Phorm free ISPs

    A list of various ISPs and their attitude towards Phorm is being kept up-to-date on the forum at

    The Post Office looks like the best bet for the phone line - no 12 month contract, free weekend calls includes mobiles and a lot of international destinations. Their BB package is a bit low for average use, good for the email only user.

  19. Sillyfellow

    just a thought

    doesn't bt own most of the cables and equipment servicing most of the country?

    and many of these isp's saying they will not use phorm are supplied by bt infrastructure?

    my point is that if bt own the actual cables running through the entire country, then what's to say that this phorm spying and 'record keeping' won't be taking place for absolutely everyone.. just because you're not 'served adverts' or told about it, doesn't mean it won't (or isn't) take place.

    after all, it's exactly what our gvt want. isn't it?

  20. frymaster


    "i.e. can I terminate the contract with BT because they are doing this without my permission?"

    Definately, but remember they haven't done it yet. You can't terminate because you believe a change in the service to be coming, you have to wait for something more concrete than that. If and when they finally do get around to implementing it your lock-in period might have expired anyway.

    Just because you don't have the legal _right_ to cancel without penalty doesn't mean you can't do it anyway, though. If you phone up and say you're cancelling because of Phorm, chances are the support staff will be so sick of having to pretend they like the idea that they'll let you cancel without making you pay for the priviledge

  21. Mike Gravgaard
    Thumb Up

    RE: Legal question

    BT cannot permently hold you to contract...

    If you request your MAC code after a years service (ie you have been with BT past 12 months and past that period - you can request your MAC code and ask when the service will terminated).

    You then arrange with your new ISP and give them the MAC code (with 30 days of receiving it), they will then transfer you across to your new ISP account.

    I recently moved from Demon to Pipex Business - I finally bit the bullet and moved after getting seriously hacked off with their Fair Usage policy, since moving I've really felt a lot calmer and happier :)

    The fact that I was paying £27 a month for a capped/cripped service between 8am-11pm really makes me wonder why I didn't do it sooner. Demon are also sending me a cheque for the service I didn't use (I used to pay them yearly) and Pipex are £22 a month (I'm saving £5, getting a better service and happier - what more could I want??).

    Mike :)

  22. Sirius365
    Black Helicopters

    Phorm: BT system 'most definitely' online by end of 2009

    Good because I'll 'most certainly' be gone from BT by the end of the month! I'm off to a "privacy enhancing isp" who don't try pull this shit off on my click stream & hold me into a 12 month contract for the sake of trying to sell me a fridge.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    BT - Suicide

    Stick with Phorm and that is what you will be doing. Business suicide!

    The peoplebase knowledge of Phorm and Webwise is growing everyday. That knowledge is loosing not only broadband customers but phone line contracts as well.

    You have been warned. I think it is a path to bust!

    Also check out what one of the few people working for BT thinks about your proposed modus operandi.

    Paris because she has more commercial sense than some large businesses.

  24. Charles Smith

    BT - There is a cost to your plans

    I recently raised a contract for a 10MB Dedicated Internet pipe (Fibre) to my company. BT were dropped from the bidders because of their involvement in Phorm.

  25. Jacob Reid
    Paris Hilton

    @ 'legal question'

    @Which ISP will definitely not go down the Phorm route?

    IIRC, Be are safe. They are the only ISP really worth considering anyway, with Sky coming a distant second, who afaik are also safe.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    Phorm's Webwise spyware promises NOT to store any data such as personal information, credit card numbers, passwords etc....

    So they CAN actually see all this vital, Private information, they just Choose NOT to store it?

    This is blatent invasion of Privacy, even if they dont intend to keep the imformation, just attempting to look at it is a breach of Privacy and a criminal offence under the data protection act!

    How long until somone hacks into this and uses it to capture everything!

    Im not with BT but with the other dumb ass ISP out there, Virgin Media. As soon as they go live with Phorms Webwise ill move to somone else.

    Even if you opt out or refuse to Opt IN! they will still spy on you, they just wont give you a little cookie to identify you to advertisers!

    This is no different from BT allowing a 3rd party to listen to all your phone conversations as long as they dont record them!


  27. Mr Bear

    @ Greg

    "Now all I need to do is get shot of my BT landline."

    And that's probably why TPS doesn't apply to them as you still have dealings with BT.


    Anyway I got my regular we'll knock £5 off yer broadband if you sign up with us for 12 months bribe call today. When I turned them down and said it's cos you've got Phorm, I wonder if the guy on the other end of the line wondered how I knew about his prison record? Still it didn't seem to sink in and eventually I had to explain to the person from BT what his company was doing and why I didn't want to get another contract. Still now it seems they are definitely going ahead with it I will start looking elsewhere.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    I work for BT...

    ... so I get FREE broadband. Who can I migrate to?

  29. EvilJason
    Thumb Down


    No matter what bt has in its terms and conditions they cant add stuff like phorm and have it come under the same terms and conditions if you signed up the day before this happens and they change the terms and conditions they are not legally allowed to charge you the rest of the contract or force you to abide by there new terms and conditions there are protections in this country to protect contract holders from one side changing the terms and conditions at there whim even if they say in the terms they have a right to.

    You can not make a term or condition that goes against the laws of the land i.e. no if you brake this contract i will legally kill you, sort of thing.

    The only problem is that a lot of people don't know that this will happen and that they can quit there contract with no penalties and will just except it...i hope phorm is paying bt enough money for the loss of revenue from the people that leave them because of it.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Media

    Kept calling me after I told them where to go and each time they asked the same question and came back with the same response - "You know other ISPs are doing this too?" to which I replied "I'm moving to an ISP which isn't using Phorm and has said it won't. Until I see QC opinion saying Phorm is legal, it isn't. I hope you and your family have no secrets at all."

    That shut them up.

    Aquiss and Be have said they won't use Phorm IIRC.

  31. not sure
    Thumb Up

    @ Greg Fleming

    Check out the post office, cheaper, and a LOT better value.

  32. WonkoTheSane
    Thumb Up

    Get out of Phorm Free.

    @ AC (Legal Question) - "changed the conditions of this contract to your detriment".

    This is the very phrase that I invoked to leave BT without penalty when they brought in bandwidth caps.

    (even though I had to talk the helldesk droid AND his supervisor through how to view it at their end!)

    As Phorm is detrimental to mankind as a whole, I see no reason why it wouldn't work against Phorm.

    @ Alan - I'm currently on Plusnet (although I'm eyeing up Be), and last time I checked, their reps were stating that Phorm was a total non-starter on their network.

  33. Tony Hoyle

    Phorm free ISPs

    There's a sort of list at

    Personally I'd be wary if an ISP merely said 'no plans' to implement (plans change).. I'd want a categorical statement that it will never happen. A few ISPs (eg. AAISP) have done this.

  34. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    PlusNet, despite being owned by BT, have categorically stated that they want nothing to do with it and won't be rolling it out. Least, that was the situation when I looked into this just before Christmas. There were even quotes from PlusNet's CEO's along those lines.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Go Suck A Lemon

    For something that is (illegal) and defiantly a breech of privacy. I cant believe they can get away with this.

    If I install software on your computer. Or even just filter your dns via your router. To make you visit my advert site. I could be charged with a crime. Yet BT/Phorm are doing the exact same thing. And get away with it. WHY?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Google etc

    I wonder what Google and the other ad providers think about this rubbish. Of course, when you get the opt-in screen you can rest assured that they will tell you they're doing you a favour.

    The BBC are still meekly going on about walking towards a surveillance society - we got there a year or so ago but not many people outside of this site noticed.

  37. Bobby
    Black Helicopters


    Looks like dear ole BT have come a cropper over this one..

    These marketeers are crying out for their 21cn to get bigger richer ads over to you and want the tax payer to foot the bill so they can rake it in from every direction at your expense..

    'Clear?' .. Oh yes, clearly illegal and clearly absurd. Stick your 21cn and your bt vision and give the internet back to the people... I go further and say turn BT back into a public telephone company and let arseholes like Kent Ertregul go back to what he's good at, wrecking kids computers worldwide...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Gravgaard

    "BT cannot permanently hold you to contract..."

    Lord Whore Whore of Blackbun is working on an amendment to this at the moment.

    £100,000 screws a lot of people.

  39. Mark

    Technical details and masked usage

    Does anyone know whether using a VNC to someone such as relakks will get around this and other Wacki-isms?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    New Tech for 09/10

    * Phorm

    * GAF (Great Aussie Firewall)

    * ID card readers (To allow citizens to swipe-on and off when they use the Internet)

    Wow, isn't technology wonderful?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    l left BT last April over this. Since then, I've laid the case out to family and friends, most of whom were shocked and angry by turns. As a result BT have lost at least 3 broadband + phone accounts that are unlikely to return any time soon.

    Most people value their privacy, and hate seeing it invaded for no return. Explain phorm carefully to the less technically inclined and most will reach for the MAC. I think BT's 'extra' 85 mil may yet turn out to be a loss.

  42. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Sleeping with Wolves ....Running with Foxes.

    "is there a way .... to completly screw with phorm yet ???" ..... By Lionel Baden Posted Tuesday 10th February 2009 16:51 GMT

    Yes, there is, Lionel. And a great ride it is, too. And the beauty of the program is that there is nothing they can do about it because in ALL cases [and yes, I did shout ALL] they will not know they are being completely screwed and beta groomed.

    And as for BT, well here is a very current true tale of their expertise and customer service.

    Someone I know, owns a nice hotel but it didn't provide Internet [wireless] access to guests. I mentioned that nowadays most businessmen and guests would always look for a hotel which provided easy Internet access, and with a wifi router, it would be practically supplied for next to nothing, and it would really please any guests who use the Internet for whatever reason, be it business or pleasure/business and pleasure, as well as capturing all those who would have looked elsewhere whenever they discovered that such a simple service was not provided.

    And BT's answer/solution [to a hotel owner who is not into the Internet but who wanted to ensure that they were not disadvantaged]? Well, just across the road there is a BTOpenZone hot spot, and on purchase of a £10 voucher from reception, guests can move to a spot at the front of the hotel where they can pick up reception.

    Which must be one of the laziest BT scams ever, preying on the Internet Illiterati ...... but so very typical of their methodology? Or do you know better/worse?

    "Won't this just lead to more people using Tor ... and similar systems that hide your browsing?" ..... By Jess Posted Tuesday 10th February 2009 20:38 GMT


    What if Tor is intelligently designed by those who would want to know of those who want to hide their browsing and thus routes their traffic to nodes prepared for it, which is what Tor does, is it not ..... routing traffic through black/covert nodes?

  43. Pete mcQuail

    Phorm advert in the Gruniad

    Claiming to be an information article.

    Yeah right.

  44. ben
    Thumb Up


    Good point, well made.

    I have always thought that as BT own most of the infrastructure, there is nothing at all stopping them from Phorming all the internets in the UK at some point or another.


  45. Anonymous Coward

    Block "Phorm"

    Now surely if your browser is "reporting back " to some IP say

    then this should work if added to HOSTS that little "used file" wrong, it's used everytime just incase you've got a route defined in there for a site etc...

    Glad I'm not with BT BB

  46. druck Silver badge

    No shortage of fuckwits

    Despite the above comments from clued up people above leaving BT because of Phorm, you can be sure that this reason doesn't even show up as 0.1% on their stats of ISP migration, and is insignificant compared to people being temped by cheaper offers from TalkTalk and Sky etc. Another thing you can be sure of is that there was no shortage of fuckwits during the trial that were happy to tick the "rape my privacy" box, while they were on their way to myspace and facebook etc.

    The only way to avoid Phorm and the like, will be to avoid all mass market ISPs, and go with the small outfits which cater for the tiny number of sane internet users.

  47. Ben Rosenthal
    Thumb Up

    thanks for the heads up captain

    have used Aquiss in the past and found them to be excellent.

    Nice quick connection and top notch customer service. Will be going back as soon as I'm no longer in lodgings.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mr Bear

    I work in a call centre, and we never even see whether or not TPS is applied to the numbers or not. If our call centre happens to be blocked (BT have to add our numbers manually) then we won't get through, but if BT have not blocked us, we will get through, and we won't know you have TPS until you tell us. (Even after that we still can't do anything, you have to tell BT)

    Just to clear that up for you :)

  49. Tony Paulazzo

    Phorm Title

    Quote from BT T&Cs

    {21. After the service has been activated

    21.1 This contract can be ended by:

    (a) either of us giving 28 days notice to the other; or

    (b) you giving us seven days notice if under paragraph 22 we inform you we are increasing our charges or changing the conditions of this contract to your detriment. }

    Just keep searching for 'webwise' in their T&Cs and as soon as it shows up, phone them because it's clearly a huge change in the contractual obligations between the customer and the supplier - they've received a huge chunk of money you will never see and your surfing will slow down as a result of the extra interception.

    Also, whilst waiting, install firephorm, trackmenot, adblock plus and noscript into Firefox.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Aquiss/Enta resellers

    I wouldn't be so quick to jump back over to Aquiss or any other Enta reseller as there's mutiny in the ranks. The IPSC changeover has virtually crippled service, they've drastically cut data allowances, and have introduced a bizarre new throttling system.

    Peope are leaving the likes of UKFSN/ADSL24/Aquiss?Freeola etc in droves.


  51. Jim McLachlan

    @Phorm advert in the Gruniad

    "Yeah, right" indeed :-)

    Click on the author's image: Radha Burgess is director of corporate communications and public affairs, Phorm

  52. Anonymous Coward

    I just read this...

    It has since been declared by the Information Commissioner's Office that Phorm would only be legal under UK law if it were an opt-in service. ( "Phorm - Webwise and Open Internet Exchange". Information Commissioner's Office. 8 April 2008. Retrieved on 10 April 2008.)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Boycott anyone using these clowns..

    Someone take Phorm out please?

    I don't want my already too slow net bandwidth taken up by crap and interception by these intrusive clowns.

    I won't use BT again because of this and the worst customer service ever.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Phorm WebWise?

    Isn't "WebWise" a BBC trademark?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    The Original Article this Links to is now returning a 404 Error; I wonder why it got pulled??

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Sign up! Sign up!

    Only a week or so to have your name in the 20,000+ who are telling UK Gov what we think of BT and Phorm (BT Webwise)

    Let's get all our friends, neighbours and family on there before the deadline.

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