Archive for the 'Privacy' Category

Aug 18 2009

Why I’d take google over Phorm any day

Published by under Computing,Privacy

So there was a lot in the news about Phorm a while back, several commentators comparing their information capture to that of google’s and commenting that their business (tracking your web usage at your ISP), is no different privacy wise to google tracking your searches. I disagree with this for a number of reasons the main being user choice.

As a user I can choose whether or not I use google as my search engine, I can choose to use they’re services or not, choose if I want to sign in thus sacrificing some of my privacy. With Phorm however there is no choice, it sits silently over your internet connection tracking your every move. There is no opt out procedure, short of changing service providers, a complicated and potentially costly procedure. This also assumes you know your ISP is using Phorm in the first place. A knowledge which is not guaranteed, just look at BT’s track record of trialing Phorm without informing the customers being monitored. There’s no way to be sure other ISP’s are any better.

Phorm is a far more Orwellian system where the user has no choice but to participate, potentially unknowingly. With google on the other hand users have the choice to sacrifice some of their privacy for a better level of service with the option to get out at any time ( all though they can’t clear their existing data). I’m happy to use google, for me the trade off is easily worth it. Phorm (or similar), on the other hand would make me change ISP’s.

See BT’s current stance on Phorm
here, you’ll notice they don’t rule out implementing it in the future.

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