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Facebook encourages ISP customer protests over Phorm

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Facebook's privacy chief today urged customers of BT, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media who are unhappy about their ISP's plans to work with Phorm in monitoring and profiling web use to "make their feelings known".

Chris Kelly was speaking at the e-Crime Congress in London this morning. Asked for a response to the open letter Facebook received this week from the Open Rights Group, he declined to say whether the firm would insist its traffic is not intercepted.

"We're not an ISP," he said, "but we hope users make their feelings known."

Asked to clarify Facebook's position, Kelly added: "If [users] are deeply unhappy with it we hope they express that as clearly as possible to the ISPs."

In Facebook's US home territory, the row surrounding deep packet inspection by ISPs in order to profile users' surfing for advertisers has cooled, after Congress effectively imposed a moritorium on the practice.

In the UK meanwhile it remains a high profile controversy, with BT publicly committed to a rollout and web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee recently speaking out against Phorm at an event at Parliament.

The Open Rights Group also wrote to Amazon, AOL, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to encourage them to add their domains to Phorm's list of traffic it will not intercept. All are themselves involved in behavioural targeting to some extent, although so far using data collected in partnership with websites rather intercepted by ISPs.

Yesterday Phorm said it was signed up to the same industry-written good practice principles as the recipients of the Open Rights Group's letter. The firm's CEO Kent Ertugrul recently branded opposition to its technology "neo-Luddite retrenchment". ®

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