30 September 2008

Phorm is coming to a webpage near you today!!

BT will launch its trial of Phorm on the 30th September 2008. Avid readers of CyberPanda will remember the concerns of the Panda on the roll out of Phorm which were covered in earlier posts( here and here).

The sample users will see a special webpage when they start surfing online and they will be asked whether they want to opt in, opt out or need more information about the Phorm. BT anticipates that the trial would run for at least 4 weeks and the size of the sample is expected to be in the region of 10, 000. In the view of CyberPanda, it would have been much more effective if opt out was the default option rather than opt in as users often do not pay attention to what they are agreeing to online given their haste to start browsing. In addition, the Panda will keep an eye on how informative the educational materials (for the users who wish to learn more about the scheme) is and to what extent it really educates the users on the nature of what they are agreeing to.

If the outcome of the trial is satisfactory to BT, Phorm will be rolled out across the entire customer base of BT using broadband. This would be a worrying development especially as it is not clear at this stage whether customers would be given the choice of opting out of the scheme.

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