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Old July 12th 08, 03:46 PM posted to uk.telecom
Phormwatcher Phormwatcher is offline
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Default July 16th - Anti-Phorm Protest at the BT AGM, Barbican Centre, London

July 16th - Protest at the BT AGM, Barbican Centre, London

On July 16th 2008 there will be a protest rally at The Barbican Centre
(The Barbican Theatre) in London. The purpose of the event is to
protest against plans by BT Group PLC, Virgin Media and Car Phone
Warehouse to deploy intrusive technology across their broadband
networks for the purpose of profiling the behaviour of their customers
which is then sold to Phorm Inc. (formerly 121Media) and used for
their Open Internet Exchange (OIX) service.

You can read updates regarding the event on the following web page:
How it works?

Phorm Inc have signed exclusive contracts with Virgin Media, BT Group
PLC and Car Phone Warehouse (TalkTalk) to install Layer 7 network
switches within the core broadband networks in the UK. Without
getting too technical the system (branded as WebWise) intercepts every
single web based communication you initiate in your browser unless
they are encrypted - which most are not.

It then inserts software cookies on to your computer for the purpose
of gathering behavioural statistics based on the web pages you view;
it also makes a copy of every web page you view as it is being sent to
your PC and builds a list of key words based on the contents of the
web page.

This type of behavioural profiling is very rich data and can be used
to determine many things about your life and who you are such as:

1. Topics you are interested in
2. Your Political Opinions
3. Your Health
4. Your Financial Status
5. Your Sexual Preferences
6. Where you live
7. When you are or are not at home
8. Your Investments
9. Who you communicate with
10. What you type on web forums or social network sites

This type of information is very useful for advertising companies as
it allows them to target you with commercial advertising when you
visit web pages. However this type of information is also protected
by many laws within the UK and EU because it is classed as personal
information which most people believe should be private. For example,
do you really want advertising companies to know what investments you
have or the contents of your emails?

You can read more about the issues surrounding this technology by
reading the other pages on this web site and following some of the
links in the right hand margin.
Event Details

Date : 16th July 2008

Time : 10:00am - 5:00pm

Place: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London. EC2Y 8DS


Directions to the Barbican

We will be gathering outside the main entrance for the majority of the
day. The best route to the main entrance is from the barbican tube,
but go right to the end of Beech street and turn right as per the map.

The purpose of the protest is twofold:

1. To raise public awareness on the issues surrounding behavioural
advertising and threats it places on privacy.
2. To present the City of London Police with a case file based on
covert trials carried out by BT and Phorm (then 121Media) in

The Covert Trials

In 2006 and 2007 Bt and Phorm (then 121Media) carried out two covert
trials of this technology (called PageSense in 2006, ProxySense in
2007 and WebWise in the present) which means they did not seek the
consent of their customers. These trials constituted criminal and
civil offenses under various laws. You can read more information
about this on the following web page:

And for the legally minded, you can read my legal analysis of the
covert trials here (PDF):

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