* Posts by phormwatch

13 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Apr 2008

BT silences customers over Phorm


Don't stop complaining

Don't stop the complaints. Write to your MP and MEP (Member of European Parliament):


Complain to the ICO using this form:


Complain to BT using this form:


Complain to Ofcom about BT's poor customer service, snooping, and trying to bind you to an 18-month contract when it has been materially changed:


Remember, you can cancel your contract if the contract is a material change and is detrimental to you. See: http://beta.bt.com/bta/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=7116&tstart=0

Phorm mulls incentives for ad targeting wiretaps

IT Angle

The Toluna Poll

I can't find the Phorm/Webwise Poll either.

Can someone locate it? Toluna is located here:


Mozilla slots pr0n safe mode into Firefox 3.1


Possible bad side-effect

The possible bad side effect of having a pr0n mode is to lull users into a false sense of security that everything they are doing online is private; pr0n mode will do nothing against DPI.

Techies tend to jump towards technical solutions to political problems. Sometimes that works - at least for a period of time. Sometimes, it just isn't enough. There needs to be more robust privacy legislation in the UK. We really need to have a discussion about acceptable business practices with respect to privacy and data protection.

Check out BT's latest nastiness:


VPN security - if you want it, come and get it

IT Angle

Paid VPNs


What is the name of the service you are paying for? It would be nice to have a list of some trusted VPN services on offer in the UK.

Phorm opponents to picket BT shareholders


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 http://www.nodpi.org 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"

Activist coders aim to deafen Phorm with white noise


This is not the first such app

You can do this in your FF Browser using TrackMeNot:


I've also written a couple of Java and Python scripts to do this. You can see them here:


Virgin Media distances itself from Phorm 'adoption' claims

Thumb Down

Phorm allowed into the 'Anti-Phishing Working Group'

You're not going to believe this, but the APWG:


Has allowed Phorm to join their ranks, as you can see here:


I suggest people write to the APWG and 'inphorm' them about Phorms background and illegal activities:


BT's secret Phorm trials open door to corporate eavesdropping

Black Helicopters

robots.txt file

>I have also asked them to state precisely what entry needs to go into robots.txt to STOP phorm scraping the site..

The answer is they will assume that a website allows search engine crawlers to index their site, Phorm will assume permission trawl for keywords for OIX. This is wrong, of course, but I'd be surprised if you don't get a cookie-cutter response.

This issue really has to be pressed with BT/Phorm. Of course, just like with the opt-out/out-in situation, they want to retain value of Phorm/OIX spyware system; fewer users (opt-in) or fewer websites (robots.txt) means fewer profits. They will do everything to avoid making it easier for websites to stop OIX trawling, I bet.

American ISPs already sharing data with outside ad firms


Phorm is holding a 'Town Hall' meeting

Phorm Town Hall event April 15, Central London

April 10th, 2008

We’re pleased to announce our Town Hall event on Tuesday 15th April 6.30pm — 8.30 pm in central London (details below). This is an opportunity for anyone who’s interested, critical or just curious, to come and ask questions about our technology, privacy and policies.

The Town Hall is an open event and all are welcome.

The event is organised by privacy consultancy 80/20 Thinking and is being conducted as part of our commitment to openness and transparency and will form part of our Privacy Impact Assessment.

Further details are below and can also be found on the 80/20 Thinking and Open Rights Group Site. Similar information has been posted on the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) and ukcrypto boards.


FIPR: ICO gives BT 'green light for law breaking' with Phorm


Setting up an on-line petition

Those who had the good idea to set up an on-line petition to call for the government or various government bodies to investigate BT for breaching criminals laws could set up a petition here:


At the very least, it would be highly embarrassing and a huge PR blow to have ten thousand signatures from the public asking for the directors of your company to be investigated from crimes and possibly locked up if found guilty!

BT: 'We did not let anyone down over Phorm... it was not illegal'


Java and Python programs to scramble Phorm interception

Here is the program I mentioned earlier which will make requests to random web pages at a random time interval (within a specified range).

Python program:


Java program:


Feel free to use it, alter it, redistribute it, improve on it, or print it out and use it as toilet paper.


Programs to scramble Phorm

>What is really needed is a program to randomly surf the net while your PC is idle, filling Phorm’s logs up with rubbish. If enough people did it, their data would become worthless and their ad click rate would drop. Hitting them in the wallet is the only language these asshats seem to understand :("

Hi. I have written just such a program in Python and Java which will make HTTP GET requests to random websites. You don't have to have your browser open for it to work. It uses the following website: http://www.uroulette.com/visit

If anyone would like to host these programs, I will link to them from phormwatch. Email me at phormwatch at fastmail dot net.

BT and Phorm secretly tracked 18,000 customers in 2006


BT also attempted to bribe me

After complaining to BT Customer Services about Phorm Spyware, I got this letter back:


Thank you for your e-mail dated xx/x/08 about I want to complain - I have a complaint about my service.

I am sorry it took so long to get back to you.

Im sorry about the issue your having at the moment.

Your broadband contract expires on the xx/04/08

If you are wanting to remain with bt for your broadband you are entitled to a £5 per month discount for a further 12 months now you are coming to the contract.

If you want to take up this offer than dont hesitate to get in touch, and i will arrange it for you.

Thank you for contacting BT.

Yours sincerely,

Dean Lee

eContact Customer Service


If they are instituting a policy of bribing customers to stay, they're obviously having one big customer retention problem.

- phormwatch