Broadband

Phorm's Webwise: It's back and gaining traction

Michael Kassner has been keeping up with news about Phorm and Webwise. Webwise is a behavioral targeting application offered by Phorm, and now major ISPs are seriously considering using Webwise. Knowing what that means is important to all of us who care about privacy issues.

It appears that the company Phorm and its application Webwise are alive and well. Phorm and several major British ISPs are putting a new spin on Webwise and how it will make everyone's Internet experience better. For instance this is British Telecommunications Group's (BT) take on Webwise:

"BT Webwise increases your protection against online fraud and makes ads that appear on participating websites more relevant to your interests. It's completely free for BT Total Broadband customers and you don't have to download or install any software for it to work.

BT Webwise automatically adds an additional layer of protection against online fraud by checking the sites you visit against a list of suspected fraudulent and untrustworthy websites. When you attempt to visit any website on the list, you'll see a warning, so you can choose whether or not to visit it. It's another way BT is helping to protect you online."

It's free?

Webwise requires massive amounts of hardware and software to check every single bit of network traffic that passes through the ISP. So, if you're wondering why an ISP would offer this service for free, wonder no longer. BT explains that your advertising (hint hint) experience will be more personal:

"BT Webwise also personalizes the online advertising you see when browsing on participating websites by linking ads to your interests. For example, if you search for a weekend trip to Paris or visit pages related to Paris, BT Webwise would replace the standard ads that would normally appear with advertising relating to travel or hotels information. You won't see any more adverts than you normally do -- they'll simply be more relevant."

The reason it's free to the ISP members is that Webwise will become a major revenue stream for the ISP. As I understand the process, advertisers will pay Phorm and Phorm will then pay the ISPs. So, the ISPs are hoping that members will go along with it.

Some history

Back in July of this year I wrote two articles about new technology that has the potential to track and shape everyone's Internet traffic. "Deep Packet Inspection: What You Need to Know" discusses technology that enables real-time deep packet inspection (DPI) of traffic. DPI has allowed companies to develop behavioral targeting applications that can shape traffic and inject third-party vendor (TPV) advertisements. The article "Behavioral Targeting: What You Need to Know" discusses one such company, Phorm, and its traffic-shaping application Webwise.

Just to keep all of us on the same page, a high-level view of behavioral targeting might be helpful. Briefly, behavioral targeting first determines what you like, based on where you go on the Internet. Then, behavioral targeting selects advertisements that are most likely to influence you, displaying them on the new Web pages you ask for.

Back to the infamous cookie yet again

If your ISP uses Webwise, your browser is given a cookie from the Webwise Web site, even though the Webwise site was never visited. This cookie contains a unique identifying number (UID), which identifies you to the advertising network. Then every time you surf to a new Web site, the UID along with information about that Web site is captured by Webwise. The UID is then compared to a database of previously visited Web sites and information about your browsing habits. After which Webwise will return what it considers relevant advertising information to your Web browser.

Phorm is supposedly making Webwise an opt-in option now, which appears to be satisfying some of the privacy advocates. The reason I say some is that Webwise still installs a UID cookie for every Web page that you visit, even if you have opted out. Webwise still has to monitor all your surfing as it's the only way the application can read the opted-out status of the cookie.

Therein lays the crux of the matter -- mission creep. The ISP and Phorm can potentially track your whole Internet experience. Since DPI is being used, the tracking and scanning of information isn't limited to Web browsing. E-mail and virtually any traffic of interest could be captured and analyzed.

Which ISPs are involved?

As of now BT, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk have conducted tests or are in the process of testing. All indications are that the ISPs will in the near future launch the Webwise program.

Preventative measures

There are options that you can use to avoid behavioral targeting cookies and DPI scrutiny. Encrypted tunnels through your ISP disallow the installation of behavioral targeting cookies. Also using VPNs, whether they are IPsec, L2TP, or SSL, will negate any effort by DPI to decipher the encrypted traffic. E-mail is another subject, and once again the only sure way to ensure its privacy is to encrypt the message. There are not a whole lot of options, but that’s because behavioral targeting applications are being placed only one hop away from your network perimeter.

Final thoughts

Whether this technology gains traction or not is going to depend on the legality of it and whether people are comfortable with having their Internet experience monitored. It appears that the British government doesn't consider it a privacy or copyright issue. It will be interesting to see if the new spin Phorm is placing on Webwise will be sufficient to overcome member concern about privacy issues.

Regarding the members of the the three ISPs, I recently read the Register's article "BT Silences Customers over Phorm." One has to wonder about the logic behind that. I suspect it will be interpreted as BT having something to hide.

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About

Information is my field...Writing is my passion...Coupling the two is my mission.

85 comments
Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Actually I don't care. I really don't about my browsing history. I got nothing to hide. What does bother me is that it'll be subject to abuse somehow and somewhere and very shortly. In that instance where a persons browsing history is used against them by a company under illegitimate purposes; here enters a good lawyer. Yep. There may be instances where a person who bombed a hotel using directions online will have that evidence way against them. That's okay. However, targeting the average person and exposing them to the world is not. Didn't something like this happen years ago with fucking AWOL? This shit needs to stop but it really won't will it!?

Jaqui
Jaqui

what privacy? just with the logs generated by default you can be tracked with everything online. with the records keeping required by law for business, it is possible to obtain information about any traffic online. Phorm's dpi is not much more INTRUSIVE on your privacy than the google adsense cookies, or any other advertising service cookie. the information is already in the cookie, and readable by the company even without dpi

charles line
charles line

Personally I wonder how long it will be before the websites start fighting back against this. The key phrase is "BT Webwise would replace the standard ads that would normally appear with advertising relating to travel or hotels information". What this means, in reality, is that BT (or whoever) will be stealing ad revenue from the site publishers. If the site receives no revenue from a BT subscriber why allow BT subscribers access to the site? As a site owner what would my motivation be to support the use of this technology?

Fionnmaccumhailus
Fionnmaccumhailus

Anyone know if the Firefox add-on Adblock Plus will still work to block ads that Webwise attempts to display?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

and let the traffic drop do the talking. (I wish it where true that enough public would avoid sites on the list but sadly, "but it doesn't effect me" is far too common a myth.)

mark.silvia
mark.silvia

I personally find this creepy. Since I value my privacy, I simply use ISP's that do not employ such applications. I recommend the rest of you vote by your ISP subscription decision and boycott those who arbitrarily pry in to your personal matters without a just cause.

santeewelding
santeewelding

I certainly hope you don't think I'm joking when I mention semaphore, or any other seemingly inane suggestions. I dig at communication qua communication, coupled with our (innate) capacity to dissemble.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

What would happen if you, as a rule, surf without cookies turned on, or you make your browser ask for permission each time a cookie is requested? Could you get around the traffic analysis? By the by, this is very scary. The implications aren't fun. I wonder how much backlash the ISP's are going to receive...

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

The potential is there. Whether it is via Webwise or the ISP using DPI. The technology is available to scan and integrate all your traffic back into understandable data. Encryption and VPN technology is the only methods that evade the scanning process.

Jaqui
Jaqui

saying dpi isn't something to pay attention to. the hoopla around Rogers Cantel AT&T Yahoo playing with it to alter google.com for their clients sshow that dpi could be used for criminal activities easily enough. Rogers Cablesystems bought Cantel cellular bougth AT&T Canada and merged with Yahoo, so while Oz owns "Rogers" stock, it's actually Rogers Cantel AT&T Yahoo he owns stock in. ;)

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

This is what I see as the line drawn in the sand. Especially since it's your site.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

That you will be able to block the adds, but their being able to track your every movement about the Internet will still be in play.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Actually that might be the undoing of Webwise. Once it gets going there may be a huge battle between the Web host and their advertisers versus the advertisers that Webwise sets up. That's why I mentioned the copyright issue and completely understand why the British government is trying to stay out of it. There's bound to be all sorts of private litigation between the Web hosts and Webwise trying to sort this out.

santeewelding
santeewelding

It will become fixed and universal, like the chair seat pushing back against the ass.

mcadwell
mcadwell

...but what about the Holosonic applications? Even if we don't get personalized ads on the internet we could get them in real life that way. I personally find the thought of personalized advertising highly offensive and a big invasion of privacy. Whomoever thought of this idea should be shot.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I bet you thought that I wouldn't get your post. I do, albeit it took me awhile. Very insightful.

ProperName
ProperName

I'm sure that within Firefox you have an option to allow certain site cookies, why not block this cookie from your computer completely. It would "theoretically" never be allowed. But it is probably written to break the browser then too?

pgit
pgit

make all cookies ask. This DPI is no doubt going to be used against the people.

jaghen
jaghen

I'm guessing that Phorm will have some way to "disable" this function. I would expect that special branches of gov't or corporations would prefer to keep their activities anonymous. All in all though, a disturbing trend that most likely will be implemented as revenues dry up and ISPs look for funding in the global economic downturn.

---TK---
---TK---

you can surf with cookies turned off, but I wouldn't recommend it... B/c every other web page will complain that you need to turn cookies on (annoying)... So to fight that, I use FireFox. In the "tools" --> "options" --> "privacy". You can set the cookies to "keep until" "I close FireFox"... then they should all be deleted. I also clear everything in "private data"... On another note, I have noticed that not all tracking cookies are cleared (they can hind in the Registry), and the remainders that are left over I use Spybot S&D to clear it out! Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but I feel that its nobody's business what and where I go on the net! I follow the laws, pay my taxes, and do what I can to help other people out that are in need.... If you want to know where I am going, PAY ME... even then I'll probably tell you to cram it where the sun doesn't shine! You can also use "Peer Guardian" to block all traffic to know tracking IP's. Great free program! Also helpful, b/c if your sitting Idle (not surfing), and the list of "blocks" keeps growing, then you know something is calling out to a home server...

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I'm afraid the answer isn't known for sure. From the information I've been getting whether you opt in or opt out a cookie is still installed. What happens if the cookie is blocked maybe anything from denial of access to it working. The only live tests so far have been with members that agreed to it. So I don't have any information about someone trying to defeat it. I'm certainly searching for that information to be sure and as soon as I know, I'll post it hear. Maybe other members have some knowledge as well.

Jaqui
Jaqui

after all, they have logs of what IP address you have and what IP address you are connecting to, or they couldn't route the traffic, encrypted or not.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I agree with your assessment and that there's all sorts of data mining going on. That's the problem and Webwise and DPI are adding to it in a big way. Internet users are going to ambivalent to it and that should concern all of us.

nym0001
nym0001

Michael You must read wider about Phorm - you've made a number of incorrect assumptions. If you're going to protest about it, at least inform yourself. Read the Richard Clayton report, that's the best technical description so far. My reading of the situation is that the regulators have a problem - Phorm does actually improve on the privacy practices compared to the current advertising giants. They practice opt-in, the others don't, they have no data mines, the others have huge data mines, so the regulators can't clamp down on Phorm without clamping down hard on the others. So the assumptions you've made that are wrong: Phorm will overwrite ads without the website permission - this is wrong. This would be suicidal for an ISP to be doing - it's fraud. Phorm works by signing up websites to be publishers of their ads. The website then modifies their website to include a piece of code in their banner ads that fetches ads from Phorm. By default there's a non-targeted ad served. When a user arrives who is using an ISP that has Phorm technology installed, that default advert can be replaced by a targeted advert. That's nothing like your idea of ads being overwritten without website permission. Richard Clayton's report is quite definitive about how this works. Second assumption - there's a simple way to block the scheme that Phorm have provided. In the browser, block cookies from webwise.net. I believe the Phorm technology spots that it can't drop a cookie in this domain and automatically opts you out. It's simple and it covers then completely from charges that they can't be blocked. If we're going to control behavioural targeting, we need to educate ourselves about how it really works, and not rely on hypothesis. Then we need to formulate how we want it to be regulated and audited and demand that all companies conform. The privacy "storm" about Phorm is mostly founded on fear, uncertainty and doubt, and we're missing how the established giants already abuse our privacy.

Fionnmaccumhailus
Fionnmaccumhailus

what an annoyance to them that they couldn't get the result they wanted as I was blocking ads :chuckle Want to hit me with a target add? Hah! I use it now and it makes my browsing experience more pleasant as pages load faster.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

If it didn't we would fall out of the chair. Isn't it similar to the "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" sort of thing?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Many people are trying to figure out how spam is a revenue stream with everyone hating it so much. Still it is. Imagine what targeted advertising like Webwise would mean to companies.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You head the column, raising your hand at what you see. We all stop and use our eyes, too. Stopped; then what?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

The Webwise cookie is more of an addendum that is added to each and every cookie that you receive. That's what makes it so troubling. This is in reality an ISP and member problem. I'm not sure what the solution is, privacy versus making money, who will win?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I'm sure you are correct, actually that's an interesting question. For example who is the US government's ISP? I have never thought about that before. I suspect that they are their own path to the Internet. For companies and other entities, I'm sure the SLA will dictate whether DPI or behavioral targeting is enabled. Maybe the entity in question would like to have that capability. Since all traffic passes through the ISP, it is a very good way to check up on what's happening.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

In my original articles we discussed this and I was fortunate to get an expert on DPI and behavioral targeting to help answer some questions. It's cumbersome, but there is a great deal of good information in the comments. Removing the cookies will work, but they will be right back each time you go to that particular Web site. Also, since your IP and other information is readily available all of this information will be stored on the Webwise database at the ISP. That's what has many people up in arms.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

At the rate of increasing computer power, today's strong keys will eventually break easily. Strong encryption now is more a matter of finding a flaw in the math rather than guessing the key. Still, machine power is not going to decrease and encryption that was impossible to break a few years ago pops quick and easy now. A network appliance with the processing power to break strong SSL that quickly would probably be obvious though.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I see what you're saying now, Jaqui. I was basing it on my 256 bit keys and how long it would take to brute force it. If I understand correctly, being able to check a billion billion (10^18) 256 bit keys per second would require about 3 times (10^51) years to exhaust the 256-bit key space. I also know that I should never say never either, as you alluded to.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Neon hit the issue on the head, the dpi could be used to brute force a REVERSE ENGINEERED private key. I doubt Phorm or BT would be doing so, since it would be time consuming. The issue is the less "ethical" people who will get their hands on this technology and use it for criminal purposes. It will take a while before it's a widespread target, like Michael, but a targeted attack on someone like Jobs where they have a very good chance of a major financial score, done often enough to develop good tools specifically built to reverse engineer private keys, and enough of a data set from having done so to be fairly effective, then it's us little guys added to the target list. And nope Neon, I haven't heard of it happening, or even being studied. I just see the criminal mind in action everyday so I KNOW the technically educated criminals will do this as soon as they can get their paws on the tech.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

An algorithm that allowed the private key to be reversed out of the encrypted data based on the public key would be a horridly broken bit of math. I can't see something like that making it past the peer review inherent in cryptography. While it is more practical to find a flaw in the math and break encryption rather than bruteforcing the passphrases or cert hash, this usually results in the the algorithms end of life; an example being WEP which is broken and denounced by cryptography science for the very reason that the flaws in the math are exploited within a reasonable amount of time for the effort. I'm very curious about this now though. Have you any articles on DPI breaking encryption. I'll stumble through a doctoral white paper even if handy.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I see no way that the private key is even remotely available. Mine never leaves my computer. So how does DPI get it so that it can decrypt the stream?

Jaqui
Jaqui

by letting them encrypt with your public key and use the deep packet inspection, KNOWING the content and reverse engineer the decryption. It is illegal as he||, but it's exactly what the "criminal element" would do to see if they can get "damaging" data.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Neon and I agree. I see no way that public key encryption is vulnerable to DPI. The private key is never passed over the network. At least none of mine are. Jaqui, can you explain the process step by step as you see it?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's my understanding anyhow. You have a public and a private key. One undoes what the other does. If I sign a document with my private key then the public key verifies where my private key couldn't reverse the encryptiong hash to verify it. If something is sent to me fully encrypted then my public key encrypts it but only my private key can unencrypt it. Unless the DPI scanner can somehow get the private key off my personal system, it can't undo what the publicly available key did. If I'm sending to someone, I don't fully encrypte with my public key. Instead, I use they recipient's public key to encrypt and potentially my private key to sign. My public key remains usless unless the recipient or DPI can first use the private key to unencrypt the email then verify my signing. Or am I missing something here? Now, with SSL there is the opportunity during initial connection handshake. arp poisoning breaks the SSL connection so it would have to be in-line and very literally breaking the law if done within US borders unless that whole millennium act is waved for marketing data collection purposes.

Jaqui
Jaqui

would not be effective, since you can download the public key from a keyserver. a private key, with the decryption part send via physical media would be effective. just as an ssl session, or even ssh session has encryption / decryption negotiation being transmitted online, giving the dpi tools the keys needed to read the content.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Can you go into details about how encryption is ineffective? I was under the impression that public key encryption (typically used for e-mail) would survive a DPI scan.

Jaqui
Jaqui

from a website is easy. a bot can crawl the site and grab the content info from the meta tags. then they can tie content to the ip address and domain names also for their advertising. the p2p [ torrents.. etc ] that is the content they can't find out. email, well, they can view any email they provide the server for, that isn't encrypted. The problem with encrypted communications is the law enforcement increase in interest in your activities from it. If you aren't doing anything wrong, no problem. with dpi, they effectively have a packet sniffer that catches the encryption / decryption data packet(s) so they have access to even the encrypted content. they can replace a sign up part of a website with their own code and capture even more personal data.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I was referring to the content more than header information.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I know we will resolve this, it just takes innovative thinking.

santeewelding
santeewelding

What rkahler@ said above reminds me of shucking a bushel of clams. In order to eat them, you got to get them out of the shell. Then you got to remove that long, cartilaginous thingy. Or quit eating clams.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

There was some data as to what rejecting cookies actually did to Webwise. I haven't found any substantiated research on that. That's the bottom line, except for how extensively they use DPI.

Jaqui
Jaqui

any user can use the cookie settings to reject some cookies based on origin, and based on privacy policy of the site [ Mozilla's browsers at least ] you can blacklist a domain from setting a cookie, like admt.com users concerned about keeping their privacy online already use the settings to reject most cookies.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Why I have no faith or trust in what they are trying to do.

charles line
charles line

I am concerned about the attitude of BT and Phorm evinced in the leaked tech assessment (available on wikileaks) of the initial secret trial of Phorm technology. In the document it is clear that they consider concealing intent to be acceptable behaviour and measure success by the fact that users cannot detect, and remain ignorant of, the activity. Then we have the removal of all things questioning regarding Phorm from the webwise forums. And, finally, the complete lack of understanding that the mere concept of deep packet inspection is abhorrent to people when it is explained to them in non-technical terms. To me all of this is insidious. Especially when wrapped up in a shiny PR package of "this is good for you..Trust us it;s for your own benefit".

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Thank you for your comments. May I ask first if you have any affiliation with Phorm? I have read Clayton's report and offer his latest blog post below as a quote: http://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2008/04/04/the-phorm-webwise-system/# "Overall, I learnt nothing about the Phorm system that caused me to change my view that the system performs illegal interception as defined by s1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. Phorm argue, with some justification, that their system does not permit them to identify individuals and that they meet and exceed all necessary Data Protection regulations ? producing a system that is superior to other advertising platforms that profile Internet users. Mayhap, but this is to mix up data protection and privacy. The latter to me includes the important notion that other people, even people I?ll never meet and who will never meet me, don?t get to know what I do, they don?t get to learn what I?m interested in, and they don?t get to assume that targeting their advertisements will be welcomed. If I spend my time checking out the details of a surprise visit to Spain, I don?t want the person I?m taking with me to glance at my laptop screen and see that its covered with travel adverts, mix up cause and effect, and think ? even just for a moment ? that it wasn?t my idea first! Phorm says that of course I can opt out ? and I will ? but just because nothing bad happens to me doesn?t mean that the deploying the system is acceptable. Phorm assumes that their system ?anonymises? and therefore cannot possibly do anyone any harm; they assume that their processing is generic and so it cannot be interception; they assume that their business processes gives them the right to impersonate trusted websites and add tracking cookies under an assumed name; and they assume that if only people understood all the technical details they?d be happy. Well now?s your chance to see all these technical details for yourself ? I have, and I?m still not happy at all." Since you didn't link the report, I think you mean this one: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/080518-phorm.pdf Thank you for explaining how the advertisements get selected and that the Web site must have agreed to using Phorm. I also wanted to mention that I admitted in my comments that I didn't know or find any test data that proves "blocking cookies" works. You even seem to not be sure yourself in your comment about blocking cookies. If you have any research data on that subject, I'd appreciate you posting it here. Also, I suspect that ISP members will not like the fact that regardless if they opt-out, Webwise will still monitor their on-line activities and we only have their word that nothing will come of that monitoring. I think there are two points that you missed that I was trying to make. I understand that there are other data-mining operations, but the difference is that they are implied permission type that you give visiting the individual Web site. Phorm doesn't work that way. Second, I see a lot of concern about mission creep, because of Phorm's past history, which is to say the least less than comforting (121media). http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/25/phorm_isp_advertising/ Finally I guess if Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web is publishing FUD, I think I might believe that particular FUD: "I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that's not going to get to my insurance company and I'm going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5% because they've figured I'm looking at those books," "I myself feel that it is very important that my ISP supplies internet to my house like the water company supplies water to my house. It supplies connectivity with no strings attached. My ISP doesn't control which websites I go to, it doesn't monitor which websites I go to." These quotes were from an interview he had with the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7299875.stm

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Sorry if you felt that way. I was too focused on the exact topic. I'm getting some unsubstantiated information that cookie blocking is considered an opt-out by Webwise. I'm not sure but I suspect that tracking is still going on.

Fionnmaccumhailus
Fionnmaccumhailus

just trying to put out the word that there are ways to cause some economic dis-incentive. Any advertiser (or surfer) that doesn't know that ads can blocked needs a hint (they might be reading this). It may help put some of these scummy methods out of business. Then we all have a smaller group to "target".

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Ads aren't my major concern. The capability to monitor every site that I went to and determine what I did on that Web site is a bit disconcerting.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Meaning that you remain seated, or get off your ass and do something else.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Great reference, do I sense a military background? I'm not afraid to admit that I consider myself a conduit between the amazing TechRepublic members and the equally amazing experts that make it all happen. So ultimately I have to stop as well.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I'm starting to sound like broken record. Still I'm hoping that some one will mention whether blocking cookies will in fact disable Webwise. I fear that it won't, especially the tracking part. Opting out of the specialized adverts is the least of my concerns.

pgit
pgit

The third option is to deny cookies, but ask every time. Talk about slowing things down! Every cookie from a newly visited domain will spark a dialog. Fortunately you can have it remember your preference for every domain. Actually, after you've been to the sites you'll frequent most the dialogs slow down. And if you run no script and don't need a script from a page you may never even be offered the cookies.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

I contacted AnalogX, gave him a link to your post and requested looking into an update. CookieWall is an older program but it's good. He's got several programs that I use regularly, even if they are older. A cool traceroute program, Whois Ultra, Port Blocker (which his is a cool approach) and, well, here's a link to the networking programs: http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/network.htm I think he did some work with CNET and was also in on the screensaver that was part of Windows media 9 Powertoy package. His site is worth checking out.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Firefox allows you to not accept cookies, but that breaks all sorts of things.

rkahler
rkahler

Maybe someone will come up with a cookie stripper. Some add on that tears the garbage out of the cookie. If so, I guess it'd be just another browser slowing issue.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

That's too bad, it looks like a nice product. I wouldn't switch from Firefox for it though

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

The money usually wins. But when privacy goes, freedom soon follows. AnalogX Cookie Wall is a neat little program, though. http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/network/cookie.htm You can set it to block all cookies if desired. I really don't know if it would be a help or a hinderance, but I do know it works really well. Here in the States, It's a bother at first until you've used it for a while and blocked and allowed the cookies enough to be covered and keep the cookies you really need. It's also a good way to actually get a grasp of just how many cookies hit you everytime you start up that Internet Explorer. I haven't tried it with IE7, though. It's bee a while since I used it and may reinstall it to play a little. I mainly just haven't been worried too much about cookies lately. (Well, so much for XP Pro 64 bit. It didn't install, I'll have to reboot to 32 to try it) Take it Easy, Keith Hailey

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

You are right. The US government IS it's own ISP. And so are several universities that were heavily into defense research and a few firms that were into the dark arts and other things. Remember, before Al Gore "invented" the internet, it was already in full swing under another name. It was a Secret Weapon of the US to enable global communications in the event of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. It really used to be a nice neighborhood, sort of like the ham world (which actually had a hand in some of developement, if I remember correctly). Now, through the use of our own weapon, countries that consider us as their enemy have actual sections in their military that come up with some of the viruses and malware that we are seeing in the wild. It's not all juat "hackers with nothing better to do and out to make a buck". Back to Phorm, I would almost be willing to bet that the company stocks went from nothing to where they are from the backing of the government of Great Britain and especially the EU and a couple of other organizations. As in that old Skynyrd song, "There's thangs goin' on that you don't know." Keith

santeewelding
santeewelding

Combine the question about the U.S. being its own path with the remark about people up in arms, along with your technical prowess and persistence, then how do you shoot a server? Where will the round do the most good? Or do answers lie elsewhere?

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