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Ofcom Lends its Support to Controversial Phorm

Posted: 06th Feb, 2009 By: MarkJ
Phorm (WebWise), the controversial system that works with ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns, has received some rather unexpected support from industry regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom's CEO, Ed Richards, was quoted at last weeks’ Media and Telecom's 2009 and Beyond conference, where he appeared to offer his unwavering support to the system (Phorm Blog):

Mr Richards said: "One of the insights from the Google story is that there are real opportunities around targeted advertising models – and that consumers will respond well to tailored products that provide relevant safeguards. So there’s an opportunity for our industry to build on this model.

Phorm for instance, while it didn’t get off to the best start, Ofcom expect Phorm-like solutions to emerge as opportunities for the ISPs in the coming years as they explore other revenue opportunities. Ofcom is in dialogue with companies on how they can incorporate this into their plans.
"

Privacy advocates will no doubt be understandably concerned by the wording, especially since Ofcom as a regulator must be seen to have taken on board opposing views, of which there are many. Deep fears continue to surround Phorm, not least with any implementation that uses the fallible cookie method to track opt-in/out status.
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