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Orange ditches Phorm

Another blow for data pimping

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Updated Orange, the UK's sixth largest broadband provider, is not going to use Phorm's data-snooping technology.

Paul-Francois Fournier told the FT: “Privacy is in our DNA, so we need to be honest and clear about what we are doing. We have decided not to be in Phorm because of that... The way it was proposed, the privacy issue was too strong.”

He said Phorm's model lacked clarity for customers. However, the ISP has not given up on making more revenue from users' data. Fournier said the company would talk to customers about what data they would be happy to hand over, and what they would want in return.

Back in February Orange told us: "We have been in discussions with a number of companies - including Phorm - about this very interesting area.We are currently evaluating a number of options and continue to evaluate both the customer and business benefits of targeted advertising."

Phorm tracks end users' browsing habits and then shows them advertising based on those preferences. It caused big controversy when it emerged that it had conducted trials with BT without getting users' consent first. BT's third trial began at the end of September.

A spokesman for Phorm said: "We never comment about specific discussions with any ISP, but based on conversations we've had with many ISPs both in the UK and internationally, we are very confident that in due course this technology is something that most of them will chose to adopt."

Orange was not able to comment on this story.

Updated

Orange sent us the following statement:“As a network provider, we are very close to our customers and as a result are trusted with their personal information. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and it is our policy to be clear and transparent on how this data can be used, without compromising privacy.

"However, we are open to finding new ways of using data that will provide value to our customers and to advertisers alike”.

There's a full round-up of our reporting on the Phorm affair here. ®

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