Alan Spurgeon

Bad Phorm

In a world of big brother style living with our daily lives being captured by a variety of monitoring services some might argue that privacy is a thing of the past. Could ‘Phorm’ be a further step into having your (online)life completely documented by third parties?

There has been a lot of press1 surrounding the Phorm company, but ‘who are they you?’ ask. Phorm are an online advertising broker, like Google Ads, or Doubleclick, what distinguishes Phorm from everyone else is the way in which they collect data and target their ads to you.

By partnering directly with your ISP (currently Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk) they receive information about your browsing habits (your browsing history) to build up a profile, and then serve targeted ads on websites that have signed up to Phorm.
Now, it is important to note that Phorm state they do not store personally identifiable information about you on their system. The only information relating to you is a unique identifier stored in a Phorm cookie.

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