And the lesson for today is ‘How to try to get yourself out of the shit with your customers and fail miserably 101‘:
Broadband provider TalkTalk has confirmed that it will allow customers to ‘opt in’ to Phorm’s controversial new advertisement system.
TalkTalk is one of three UK ISPs to sign up to the Webwise service which sees user’s surfing habits tracked.
It has decided not to offer the service by default but rather to allow users to choose whether they want it.
It follows 1,000 people signing a Downing Street online petition saying the system breaches customer privacy.
“We will be endorsing and recommending take-up of the system but we want to ensure that customers make their own decision,” said a spokesman for TalkTalk.
Fuck me, if there’s anything dumber than the idea that an ISP can get away with covertly signing its users up to a data-pimping ad service, its the idea that its customer might willingly sign up for the fucking thing in return for ‘targeted advertising’ and ‘anti-phishing alerts’.
It [TalkTalk] believes that there is a two-fold benefit for customers.
“We feel customers will welcome the opportunity to get fewer irrelevant advertisements as well as benefit from the real-time anti-phishing alerts,” he said.
As a Firefox user, I already have the benefit of ‘fewer irrelevant advertisements’, in fact I have the benefit of no fucking advertisements at all, and all courtesy of an add-on called Adblock Plus, while if I do require any anti-phishing measures (which I don’t, personally, as I can handle that shit manually) then I have the choice to not one, but two add-ons I can use to do the job, FirePhish and the Personal Anti-Phishing Sidebar.
So, if you are a TalkTalk customer and you want all the benefits that TalkTalk think you’ll want without the need to sign up for its third party data-scraping service, then just pop along to Mozilla and pick up and install a copy of Firefox, install the add-ons linked above and tell TalkTalk to shove their new business partner right where the sun don’t fucking shine.
This has been a public service announcement on behalf of the ‘don’t try and take internet users for a bunch of half-witted cunts and think you can get away with it’ campaign.
If you need the full skinny on Phorm and what a cretinous idea it is then try El Reg’s round-up.