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Orange UK Closes the Book on Phorm Adoption
By: MarkJ - 30 October, 2008 (1:26 PM)

Orange UK (France Telecom) has told the Financial Times newspaper that while there was still "huge potential" for broadband customers’ data to be used in target advertising, it would not be adopting Phorm because of related privacy concerns:

Paul-François Fournier, senior vice-president of Orange’s online advertising division, told the FT: "Privacy is in our DNA, so we need to be honest and clear about what we are doing. We have decided not to be in Phorm because of that ... The way it was proposed, the privacy issue was too strong"

To be fair Orange has only ever expressed an interest in Phorm, unlike BT and TalkTalk (The Carphone Warehouse) that appear to be preparing the system for launch. Phorm works with ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns, though its methods have raised many legal and privacy concerns:

Kent Ertugrul, Phorm’s chief executive, said that independent auditors had established Phorm as the “gold standard for privacy by quite some way. We have spoken with the entire online advertising industry, most major ISPs [including Orange], many, if not most, of the major advertisers – and this is an idea whose time has come,” said Mr Ertugrul.

Phorm is still understood to be in the "advanced" stages of shopping its service to several other as yet unidentified ISPs. Many consumers will no doubt be pleased that at least one of the major providers has taken a stand against it.

Meanwhile BT (Webwise) is currently in the process of running Phorm's first public UK trial, while Orange is likely to survey its customers to find out what data they would or would not be comfortable sharing.

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