There has been a great deal of online debate over the last month about Phorm and their technology to personalise adverts delivered to Internauts based on previous browsing behaviour. Some very large ISPs have signed up to trial the system, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
The intercepting and profiling of browsing sessions by ISPs obviously has huge privacy implications — which Phorm has tried to address by designing in some privacy safeguards, and commissioning a Privacy Impact Assessment from 80/20 Thinking (founded by my colleague Simon Davies). NGOs including the Open Rights Group and FIPR remain concerned about Phorm's privacy implications and particularly its legality under the Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
80/20 and Phorm have therefore organised a free Town Hall meeting next Tuesday in London where anyone interested can hear more about the technology and put questions to Simon Davies, Kent Ertugrul (Phorm's CEO), Marc Burgess (Phorm's VP Tech) and Dr Richard Clayton (FIPR). I've agreed to chair the event, which I hope will further unravel some of the knotty questions raised by these types of systems.