Bad phorm as company website attacks critics
Phorm have been criticised on numerous occasions for their approach to privacy, as they bid to revolutionise online advertising by targetting users based on their usage. The thrust of the concerns stem from Phorm doing deals with ISPs to collect personal date, thereby bypassing the privacy rights of individual users. According to a spokesperson for Phorm, even if a user opts out of involvement, information about their browsing activities would still be processed. Needless to say, it's a complex and never-ending arguement, one that has involved court cases and created a world of fury online.
Regardless, Phorm are a big US company earning millions from their products. So what happens when they start finding the pressure from critics too much? Most in their position would ignore it. Not Phorm. They create a website that attacks them - Stop Phoul Play - to "expose the smear and set out the true story, so that you can judge the facts for yourself". It then proceeds to rake the muck on named individuals who it deems to have caused it trouble by questioning its product and intent:
So that's the record "set straight" by Phorm then, despite the fact that in the past they've been caught in the act of favourably editing their own Wikipedia entry. It ultimately feels likes the biggest PR blunder ever signed-off, and far from dousing the fire, it'll only fan the flames.
Meanwhile there are seven shades of shit kicking off as a Freedom of Information request has proven an ongoing dialogue between Phorm and the Home Office. The exchange between the two parties began in 2007, and according to the BBC shows the Home Office requesting advice from Phorm on its views regarding "behavioural targeted advertising, and making specific reference to Phorm's technology". WTF? So the Government was asking Phorm to have a hand in shaping the Government's strategy on Phorm's area of business?
Understandably, there aren't many people happy about the revelation, including the Open Rights Group which has just published a statement saying: "We condemn this approach to law enforcement. The Home Office’s job is to uphold the law, not to reinterpret it for commercial interests.
"This revelation is yet another reason why major websites should make a stand for the rule of law and exercise their right to block Phorm from their websites."