Virgin Media not planning Phorm rollout

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Virgin Media has confirmed it has no immediate plans to roll out Phorm's controversial Webwise deep packet inspection system.

Virgin stressed it never formally decided to use Phorm's system on its networks, but had merely considered Webwise as it looked at other "internet-based advertising" - or what the rest of us would call "behavioural advertising".

Earlier this week, BT and Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk stepped back from the firm, sending Phorm's shares sliding, and leaving many - including IT PRO readers - wondering whether Virgin Media would speak up, too.

A Virgin Media spokesperson told IT PRO: "Over the last 18 months, Virgin Media has conducted a comprehensive technical and legal assessment of Phorm's technology and consumers' attitudes towards interest-based advertising. This review has not involved the deployment of Phorm technology across our network."

The spokesperson noted that it had not ruled out behavioural advertising or indeed Phorm, but stressed it was looking at other suppliers.

"We continue to believe interest-based advertising has potentially important benefits for consumers, internet service providers and website owners," the spokesperson said. "However, given the fast moving nature of the sector, Virgin Media is reviewing potential opportunities with suppliers including Phorm prior to making any commitment to launch any of these technologies."

Virgin Media added it recognised people's privacy concerns around such advertising systems and would meet any legal or best practice requirements if it ever does roll out a system.

"Virgin Media will communicate openly and transparently with consumers before and after any future deployment of interest-based advertising technologies across its network," the spokesperson added.

Not sure what Phorm is? Click here for our Phorm cheatsheet, and here for a short history of Phorm in the UK.