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Big Brother boss backs Phorm

TV exec values revenue over privacy

Controversial targeted advertising service Phorm has been defended by an unlikely source - the former head of TV production company Endemol.

Peter Bazalgette, who was instrumental is bringing reality TV show Big Brother to UK screens, defended the service in the House of Commons this week, claiming privacy experts were overlooking the commercial benefits Phorm has to offer.

Bazalgette told PC Pro: "Quite a lot of content in the future is going to have to be paid for like it was in the past - by advertising. But advertising online is going to be done in a different way. And when I hear all these privacy guys talk about privacy, I never hear them mention the importance of commerce online. All I hear them talk about is their rights".

Phorm's system tracks users' online surfing habits and then delivers relevant adverts - a practice that's raised a number of concerns from privacy campaigners. However, Phorm claims its 'anonymises' the information about web users so they are impossible to identify.

Following a successful trial of the service last year, BT looks set to be the first ISP to roll-out the system. It is thought it will be in place by the end of this year.

"I came across Phrom when I was looking at the whole thing and I was quite interested in what it was doing. And broadly speaking, I think what it is doing is good," added Bazalgette.

"If Phorm's doing anything wrong, let's get it out in the open and make it work."

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See also: Phorm signs up to new advertising guidelines

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