Open Rights Group:
Over the last few weeks, the story that BT, Virgin and TalkTalk are signed up to trial a new technology called Phorm, which tracks usersâ€™ online surfing habits in order to target ads at them, has caused a storm all over the internet.
Hereâ€™s what weâ€™ve been told about the workings of Phorm so far. Phorm assigns a userâ€™s browser a unique identifying number, which, it is claimed, nobody can associate with your IP address, not even your ISP. It then uses information about your surfing habits, gathered by searching the URLs you request and the websites you visit for key words, to assign that unique number to various â€œchannelsâ€ (for example â€œgolfâ€, â€œtravelâ€ or â€œhandbagsâ€). When you visit a website which has a â€œPhorm please put an ad in hereâ€ tag, Phorm serves an ad from a channel where your unique number appears.