I like to think that when I am pootering around on the computer, wandering the web or chatting to people, I can expect some level or privacy. Not from people here, but people out there. The Watchers. Big Brother. The Powers That Be.

Now, I'm not silly to think that my surfing can't be checked on someone at any time, and that everyone leaves a trail. Heck, you only have to look at StatCounter to see the sort of info the "average person" leaves behind on websites they visit. But that sort of stuff doesn't really cause much hassle.

The things that really piss me off on the web are the adverts. Popups, Popunders, Banners, Skyscrapers, Miniads, Flashing, Animated, Static - they drive me nuts. So nuts, in fact, that I no longer see them. Yes, I am probably doing someone out of their GoogleAds paycheque, or their referral meter is slipping behind, but you know what.

I don't care.

Yep, it might sound harsh, it might be heartless, but there is nothing that anyone advertises that I want. Hosting, Space, Sex Toys, Pills, Diplomas - not to mention the "You Have Won!" crap. I don't want it.

Thanks to Firefox and the little addon called AdBlock, I don't see any adverts. And, on the rare occurrence that I DO see one, I add the server details to the filter, reload the page and... Ahhhh Ad Free.

However, it would appear that there are plans by various ISPs over here to start cashing in on the "Targeted Ad" stuff, and three of them are already planning on rolling it out; BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse. All these companies are adding a product from a company called "Phorm" who used to be a Spyware/Adware company. Nice.

The essence of the Phorm scheme is straightforward. It will have equipment at ISPs that will track your activities on port 80 (used for the web) - though not to secure websites. With each site you visit it will capture the URL (and, for a search engine, the search terms too) plus enough of the header data from the page to "categorise" it into one of a number of areas. Anything longer than a three-digit number is thrown away. Your IP address is not captured, but a cookie with a unique number is set on your browser when you start using it, which persists into the future.
Sounds nice doesn't it. Just what you want. Plus, they are making it "Opt Out" as opposed to "Opt In" because they prolly know most people will respond with Heeeeeell No!

So, you can read the full article here. I suspect it's a UK thing only, but who knows...

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One Response to “Privacy”

Tim the Convict said...

I wonder if ISPs have a corporate/community conscious to monitor series of search terms/websites etc that build the profile of someone of concern to national security, or a drug smuggler etc. I doubt it .. but they will do exactly that, monitor sites visited and search terms therein to send you just the right ads!! Here here ... think I have to get me that Firefox plug in!