Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amazon opts out from Phorm

Another blow for Phorm and its user profiling technology: Amazon has opted out, preventing Phorm from monitoring their users' behaviour on that site. Phorm's business model is looking increasingly improbable given the threatened lawsuit from the European Commission.

I think the advertising industry has overplayed the benefits to users of adverts targeted based upon their browsing behaviour. However, this could be done in a privacy-friendly way by code running on the user's own PC, under their full control, retrieving customised adverts using Private Information Retrieval protocols that would prevent the leakage of any information on their interests to advertisers.

This seems an obvious direction for Microsoft and Google to go with their browsers, with the added advantage (to them) of capturing a further significant slice of future advertising revenues.


Gaz said...

Interesting idea regarding the browsers doing the collection, but the ad company will still have to have access to the data.

Ian Brown said...

The idea is that the ad company never gets access to the data - the selection of relevant adverts would be done by the code at the browser end, entirely under the user's control.

sara tindall said...

This is a great approach. It would also be a great way of testing all that talk advertisers give about only wanting the best for users(yeah, right).