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BT Update on Phorm Trial Delay

Posted: 11th Aug, 2008 By: MarkJ
Clickz has a small update on BT's seemingly endless Phorm trial delays; a controversial advertising system that works with ISPs to anonymously monitor the websites you visit for development of targeted advertising campaigns.

For some time now we've been hearing that the trial was due to start "imminently" or "within the next few weeks", although since then weeks have become months while pressure from groups opposing Phorm continues to mount. However, according to Adam Liversage, BT's chief press officer, the trial has not been abandoned:

"We are still planning to trial the technology, but have not started doing so yet. We are currently working on some things before we can begin, but are expecting the trials to commence soon."

It had been alleged that part of the reason for BT's delay was to allow for the implementation of a non-cookie method of opting-out. Liversage denied this saying that while they were seeking an alternative, lack of such a thing would not hold up the trial.

"There are other things we are working through, it's a separate issue," he added.

Typically cookies, which are small text files created by your website browser that can hold personal details, are a fallible technology; especially if the customer users more than a single browser. Meanwhile, the European Commission recently gave the UK government until the end of August to respond to an EU letter questioning Phorm's legality (here).

Tony Evans, the Commercial Director of rival technology NebuAd, which is also said to be talking with some UK providers, suggested that BT would probably wait to see the government’s response before proceeding.
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