ISPreview - Alexander Hanff Anti-Phorm Interview
Alexander Hanff (Anti-Phorm) Interview
By: Mark Jackson - June 25th, 2008 : Page 3 -of- 4
"I think any other ISPs which were keen to use the technology 4 months ago are certainly less keen now."

5. Is there any degree of Phorm that you would find acceptable, such as the arguably less controversial non-cookie method being envisaged for use by TalkTalk?

AH: In short, no.  The ISP customers are not the only people involved in this issue; other users of the same computers (who are not the bill payers), content providers on the web and other users of the internet sending communications through a 3rd party (like web mail) are all stakeholders in this issue as well.

Therefore, the use of Deep Packet Inspection for these commercial markets can never fully satisfy the requirements under current laws and statutes.

6. Despite the large publicity, most of the official bodies responsible for overseeing data breaches and misuse appear to be giving Phorm the benefit of the doubt. Even the EU, which recently said it was looking at the concerns, doesn’t appear to be foreseeing any actual action. Is there any hope left that Phorm can be stopped or at the very least, neutered?

AH: Well in the 4 months the campaign has been running Phorm have lost approximately 70% of the market value as a result of their share price dropping from the £36 region to the £10 it stands at today.  That is a total of over £300 million wiped off their market value as a direct result of the negative publicity this technology has caused.  So even if the relevant authorities refuse to act, if we cripple their bank accounts and if people refuse to opt in to the system, they will have neither money nor a market.

7. Much of the focus has been on BT, though both TalkTalk and Virgin Media are known to have ideals for the technology too. Do you foresee these and other ISPs adopting Phorm or do you feel that the pressure is enough to have put a permanent dent in their plans?

AH: I think any other ISPs which were keen to use the technology 4 months ago are certainly less keen now.  There are ISPs out there marketing themselves on the testament of being Phorm free with no intention to employ theirs or similar technology.

VM have certainly backed away somewhat and I have reliable information that they are not very happy with the situation.  Talk Talk have said nothing really since the issue raised its head back in February.

So yes, I think Phorm have a very tough nut to crack with ISPs and they are going to struggle to gain the market share they originally anticipated with an Opt Out system.

8. If after all this, Phorm still goes ahead, what will you do?

AH: I will continue to fight it politically and publicly to have their technology banned for these commercial markets.


Readers seeking to find out more about Hanff’s protest should visit his website:

There is also a petition on the governments website:

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