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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 05:49

Amazon and Wikipedia phactor Phorm out of the privacy equation

Even if the UK Government is not going to stop Phorm spying on Internet users on privacy grounds, it looks like some of the biggest brands on the Web will.

A lot has been written on iTWire about Phorm during the last year or so: how the EU demanded answers from the UK Government regarding secret Phorm spying trials and how it is now taking the UK Government to court claiming a breach of privacy law, right through to talk of Google considering implementing the behavioural advertising technology.

Now, though, it seems that some of the bigger online concerns are getting concerned about the potential damage to their brand any public backlash over user privacy issues could bring, and are saying no to Phorm.

It all really kicked off when privacy campaigners the Open Rights Group sent an open letter to some of the biggest Internet brands last month, a letter which laid out its argument why they should boycott Phorm on user privacy grounds.

Now it would appear that a number of those brands agree, Amazon and LiveJournal amongst them, and have decided to opt out of the Phorm Webwise system altogether.
Jim Killock, executive director at the Open Rights Group says "...these firms have taken the positive choice to protect their users’ privacy and their own brands. We expect more sites to block Webwise in the near future and also call on ISPs to drop plans to snoop on web users."

Amazon commented that it had contacted Webwise to request that "we opt-out for all of our domains" but chose not to expand on the reasoning behind this decision.

Meanwhile, we learn that the Wikimedia Foundation which is behind Wikipedia has also opted out of the Phorm system for all its domains.

In an email to Phorm it explained that "...we consider the scanning and profiling of our visitors' behavior by a third party to be an infringement on their privacy."

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