We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Wikipedia follows Amazon and blocks Phorm

Profiling online activities in an "infringement"

Wikipedia is following in the footsteps of online retailer Amazon and blocking targeted advertising system Phorm from tracking visitors to its site.

Phorm's controversial service, known as 'Webwise', tracks users' online surfing habits and then delivers relevant adverts. Despite claims by Phorm that it 'anonymises' the information about web users so they are impossible to identify, the service has attracted a number of concerns from privacy campaigners.

Amazon's announcement this week came after the Open Rights Group (ORG) contacted a number of big tech companies including Amazon and Microsoft asking them to ban the service, as the ORG feels Webwise illegally intercepts web users' communications and could commit long-term damage to the brands that adopt it.

In a blog, the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the online encyclopedia, said: "After some internal discussion on whether opting out of the Phorm user-profiling system in the UK would legitimise it, we're going ahead and requesting an opt-out for all the domains under the Wikimedia Foundation's control".

The blog also detailed the letter sent by Wikimedia's chief technology officer Brion Vibber to Phorm, asking to opt-out of the service. Vibber said: "We consider the scanning and profiling of our visitors' behavior by a third party to be an infringement on their privacy."

Jim Killock, executive director of the ORG, said in a blog: "We'd like to thank Wikipedia and Amazon for prioritising their users' privacy and taking this stand. We hope Facebook, AOL, Bebo, MSN, Google and others can follow their lead".

IDG UK Sites

Spotify launches on PS4 as Tidal arrives on Sonos: It's Tidal vs Spotify music streaming

IDG UK Sites

It's World Backup Day 2015! Don't wait another minute: back up now

IDG UK Sites

Adobe Comp CC iPad app review

IDG UK Sites

April Fool's Day pranks: play these geeky pranks on April Fools Day and fool your friends