Business, Finance & Economics

Targeted advertising

Phorm wants to revolutionize online advertising. The company says it has developed a program that can track every website a user visits and in return the lucky web surfer gets to see relevant advertising. The CEO says in the process superfluous advertising will go by the wayside. That's good for advertisers which is in turn good for Phorm. It also sounds good for internet service providers. And this analyst says this isn't exactly a supped up version ad spyware: normally these programs install code on your computer but this program doesn't do that. But this programs tracks your every move on the internet and then analyzes it, and this computer scientist thinks that's more than a little intrusive. At the heart of his concerns is privacy and the creator of the world wide web recently expressed concern over Phorm's new program. So the big questions are: what personal info is Phorm sweeping up and how long is that info kept? Phorm CEO claims your personal info is safe and the company doesn't store data. He says Phorm anonymizes the data, creates targeted ads and then moves on without keeping records. The company has invited privacy advocates to test the system. This privacy advocate says the program is better than most but that doesn't make it safe from interception. In UK law, you can't take info between two fields�a company and a user�and make it public for third parties. One analyst says Phorm is turning people into products. This analyst says the whole debate is healthy for the issue. For its part, Phorm has had to rethink how it's going to role out its product.

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