ISPreview - Alexander Hanff Anti-Phorm Interview
Alexander Hanff (Anti-Phorm) Interview
By: Mark Jackson - June 25th, 2008 : Page 1 -of- 4
"Concerns over invasions of privacy, its similarities to spyware and the poor way in which some UK ISPs handled their interest in the technology have dogged Phorm"

UPDATE - 25/06/2008: Phorm has issued a response to Hanff's commens in this interview, which can be viewed on the new additional page (4).

Rarely does a week go by when Phorm, a highly controversial company that works with ISPs to anonymously monitor the websites you visit for development of targeted advertising campaigns, isn’t in the news. Concerns over invasions of privacy, its similarities to spyware and the poor way in which some UK ISPs handled their interest in the technology have dogged Phorm since it first surfaced several months ago. See our ‘Phorm Related News History’ for more.

Presently only three Internet providers have expressed some degree of direct interest in Phorm: BT, TalkTalk (The Carphone Warehouse) and Virgin Media, although combined they account for a large proportion of UK broadband subscribers (roughly 10 million). BT in particular has received a significant amount of flak for the secret trials they conducted during 2006 and 2007, without customers’ knowledge or consent.

Naturally Phorm has acquired many critics over the past few months, including Alexander Hanff, a noteworthy technologist and soon to graduate Masters in Law legal professional. Hanff’s often outspoken opposition to Phorm has lead him to become a strong campaigner against its adoption, causing various conflicts with some of Phorm’s biggest supporters, including BT.

ISPreview was keen to find out a little more about Hanff’s views, especially in light of his campaigns forthcoming protest, which is due to be staged outside of BT’s general meeting on 16th July 2008 at the The Barbican Centre (The Barbican Theatre) in London:

1. Who are you and what do you do?

AH: I am a technologist who worked in the industry for 17 years in roles including teaching, consulting, programming, support, testing and business development.  I recently decided to return to University in order to use my experience to develop a career in the social sciences covering issues surrounding social issues in relation to technology (such as Privacy, Digital Divide, Ethics and Law).

I am about to graduate and intend to do a Masters in Law specialising in Human Rights and focusing on technology issues.  In long term I hope to become actively involved in politics again looking specifically at how technology impacts on society.

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