Thursday, March 20, 2008

Phorm - another eye in the sky

More of the same old stuff ...
A Company Promises the Deepest Data Mining Yet - New York Times:

...Amid debate over how much data companies like Google and Yahoo should gather about people who surf the Web, one new company is drawing attention — and controversy — by boasting that it will collect the most complete information of all.

The company, called Phorm, has created a tool that can track every single online action of a given consumer, based on data from that person’s Internet service provider. The trick for Phorm is to gain access to that data, and it is trying to negotiate deals with telephone and cable companies, like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, that provide broadband service to millions...

...Phorm puts a cookie, a small bit of computer code, on a person’s computer to tie his or her Web-surfing to the random number and then saves only that number in advertising categories like types of cars or clothing...
In China the government tracks people's activities. In the US it's business. Funny.

Phorm assigns each computer-user-account-browser a unique ID and tracks the relatonship between unique ID and web page requests. I assume a Firefox extension would allow a browser to defeat Phorm. I assume they need ISP collaboration to track the web pages. A private VPN service would eliminate that possibility.

I've been using Witopia PPTP VPN when accessing public wifi, I wonder if it's time to start tunneling all my traffic through a trusted VPN.

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