If you can’t trust your ISP, who can you trust?

ISPs have been exposed as hijacking the search traffic that some of their customers have tried to type into Yahoo and Bing search engines, and now the backlash begins. Now companies involved in the scheme has been hit with a lawsuit and may face Congress.

Phorm Pops Up Again, This Time in Brazil

Phorm, the controversial startup that delivers targeted ads based on a person’s web surfing, has signed deals with five Internet Service Providers in Brazil. Almost two years after the controversy around such services erupted, are Internet users ready to give up more of their privacy?

NebuAd Technology Resurrected As InsightReady

nebuad-logoYesterday we reported that targeted ad firm NebuAd bit the dust, but it appears that its Insight technology platform has risen again in the UK as part of a company called InsightReady. Folks from a publication called Clickz called the phone number for NebuAd’s UK office and reached Tony Evans, a former commercial director at NebuAd, who confirmed that he is currently working with InsightReady as a consultant. He also confirmed that NebuAd’s UK managing director, Paul Goad, is currently the managing director of InsightReady. GigaOM called yesterday evening, and reached Tony Evans’ voice mail, but calls today are now routed to another person’s mailbox, and the outgoing message doesn’t state a company affiliation. Read More about NebuAd Technology Resurrected As InsightReady

NebuAd Bites the Dust

logoNebuAd, the company that planned to enable Internet Service Providers to offer behavioral advertising based on a person’s web surfing history, has shut its doors, according to MediaPost, which cites court documents. The controversial service, which is akin to Phorm in the UK, had conducted advertising trials with several U.S. ISP including Cable One and CenturyTel (s CTL). When it signed up Charter as a customer last summer, a backlash ensued that led to a congressional investigation into such targeted advertising and the refocusing of the company.

NebuAd was pushing the envelope on behavioral advertising. In doing so, it attempted to fulfill the dreams of ISPs by letting them get into the lucrative online advertising game, but consumers rebelled against the intrusion. NebuAd filed papers noting its demise in the U.S. District Court of San Francisco as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by consumers angered over the loss of their privacy. Read More about NebuAd Bites the Dust

Did Phorm Help Draft Privacy Rules In the UK?

Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Britain’s Home Office is accused of collusion with former spyware vendor Phorm after emails surfaced showing the department seeking Phorm’s approval for the UK’s targeted advertising rules, the BBC reported this morning. That revelation came just one day after The Telegraph wrote about Phorm making personal attacks against privacy advocates who are waging a campaign against the company’s technology.

Phorm is in trials with several ISPs to use its deep-packet inspection technology to sell advertising based on the sites a user visits on the Internet. Its technology is similar to that offered by NebuAd here in the U.S. Phorm is trying to push its technology to North American ISPs as well. Read More about Did Phorm Help Draft Privacy Rules In the UK?

DPI Doesn’t Kill The Open Internet, Carriers Do

The Free Press issued a report today that blames deep packet inspection technology for “The End of the Internet,” arguing that Internet service providers’ use of equipment that can inspect individual packets of data should raise concerns for both users and lawmakers.
The report: “Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet as We Know It?” highlights the use of DPI equipment by Comcast (s CMSCA) in throttling P2P traffic, in Cox’s traffic prioritization scheme, the role DPI played in NebuAd’s plans to monitor web surfing in order to deliver advertising, and the use of such equipment to introduce consumption-based broadband programs. It neglects to cover the use of DPI for Internet threat monitoring and other more beneficial uses of the technology. Read More about DPI Doesn’t Kill The Open Internet, Carriers Do

Shakeup at Phorm Continues, Executives Leave

Hugo Drayton, chief executive officer of the UK region for Phorm, a controversial behavioral targeting-based advertising system aimed at the telecoms, has left the company. Lynne Millar, Phorm’s chief financial officer, has also resigned. Earlier this month some, company executives and board members left Phorm after disagreeing with CEO Kent Ertugrul. Phorm had been in trials with British Telecom (s bt) that concluded earlier this month. Phorm continues to move forward, and BT is likely to roll out the ad system on its retail broadband network. Phorm competitor NebuAd has retreated into a shell after coming under scrutiny from legislators over privacy fears.

Overkill Slays Thanks to Clever Cast and Quips

NTV Station Alleged serial killer Henry “The Overkiller” Graham sits on death row partaking of his last meal (a Hot Pocket) and awaiting his just deserts. All too soon, he’s led to the room where he’ll pay for his crimes — by being married off to his groupie-turned-fiancee Carrie… a girl more inclined to swoon over crime scene photos than flowers or chocolates. We’ll soon learn that electrocution may have been the gentler option for Henry than lifelong vows to this bloodthirsty chick. The hot seat in the background serves as both authentic thematic wedding decor and fitting metaphor, because it turns out that Carrie will forgive Henry nearly anything — except his protestations of innocence. And so begins Overkill: A Love Story, a genuinely funny comedy in which the standard “boy meets girl” premise is cleverly skewered — and then beaten, deep-frozen and left for dead in a ditch. (You see, the central character of this saga reputedly likes to dispatch his victims using as many simultaneous methods as possible.) It’s Henry’s heavy-handed M.O. from which the nickname “The Overkiller,” and many of the show’s most entertaining moments, are derived. Future episodes promise to expand upon that as Henry’s appeal is granted and he becomes a free man intent on embarking upon a “normal” life, much to his wife’s dismay. Read More about Overkill Slays Thanks to Clever Cast and Quips

AT&T Controls the Future of Privacy — Seriously

tfopf2I’ve spent the past few days pretty immersed in the SC 08 conference here in Austin, Texas, but I’m still embarrassed that I missed the formation of a new lobbying organization think tank called The Future of Privacy that’s being funded by AT&T (s T). The group hopes to help policy makers and business leaders figure out how to manage online privacy.
A big source of irony from the group, other than its purported focus on online privacy to benefit consumers and the industry alike, is that Co-chair Christopher Wolf also headed up one of my favorite astroturfing efforts, Hands Off The Internet, the phone company think tank dedicated to Net Neutrality. Somehow, that connection isn’t mentioned in his FOP bio Read More about AT&T Controls the Future of Privacy — Seriously