The legality of Phorm


Technical analysis of the Phorm online advertising system has reinforced an expert’s view that it is “illegal”.

The analysis was done by Dr Richard Clayton, a computer security researcher at the University of Cambridge.

What Dr Clayton learned while quizzing Phorm about its system only convinced him that it breaks laws designed to limit unwarranted interception of data…

Richard says, in part:

Phorm assumes that their system “anonymises” and therefore cannot possibly do anyone any harm; they assume that their processing is generic and so it cannot be interception; they assume that their business processes gives them the right to impersonate trusted websites and add tracking cookies under an assumed name; and they assume that if only people understood all the technical details they’d be happy.

Well now’s your chance to see all these technical details for yourself — I have, and I’m still not happy at all.

More here on the BT spokeswoman’s attempt to defend on TV the company’s covert experiment with Phorm.