Stop Virgin capping the internet and profiling my every move.

My current ISP (Virgin Media) seems to be systematically trying to eradicate it’s customer base – by spying on them with Phorm, and now capping their bandwidth to high-bandwidth websites.

If you’re a customer of Virgin Media, BT or TalkTalk, please read this entire post, especially the parts about Phorm

Despite the fact that I pay a fairly high monthly charge (compared to most other UK ISPs) for my internet service, Virgin are announcing plans to cap the available bandwidth from their customers to some high-bandwidth websites. Unless those websites pay for the Privilege of serving VM’s customers unhindered.

Unfortunately the cost of changing ISP is quite high, as I’ll have to get the old BT line reactivated, and replace my wireless router too (I won’t be using BT as my ISP, and they are also planning a Phorm implementation) – but if it’s a choice between spending that money up-front, then paying less monthly (admittedly for a slower service) , or staying with an ISP that wants to profile every move I make on the web (and in any app which uses “the web” in the background, say, iTunes for example) for serving me targeted advertising revenue, and limit the bandwidth available to the kind of services which are designed to be used over broadband, I know what I’m going to do.

Back to Phorm…

I know the “official line” on Phorm is that it’s an anti-spyware/phishing type service – but I don’t need one of those from my ISP – and I’m certainly not willing to let VM profile my entire use of the internet when I alerady have an anti-spyware tool installed on my PC, which I have control over.

The way I see it – I pay VM for my phone and internet use – they are welcome to track what number I call (they need to in order to bill me), and which website I visit (again, I know this will happen in logs on the servers anyway – but the data isn’t used for anything) – they are not welcome to process that information (and the content of the pages I view/phone calls I make) to establish what I’m actually reading, and use sell that data for advertising.

Imagine if they did the same on the phone service – they’d listen on every phone call you make, and you’d get telemarketing calls like “You’ve been talking to your family on the phone about buying a new car from X- so we’d like to invite you to make an appointment to visit a Y dealership for a test drive of our new vehicle”.

What VM (and the other Phorm ISP partners) are proposing is to do exactly that with your web browsing activity. Listen in on you web browsing, and serve adverts targeted with that data in mind.

The bottom line is that if you’re a VM customer (or BT, or TalkTalk), you need to be aware of what they’re planning to do, and make a decision whether you want to stay with an ISP who wants to track your every move so they can serve targeted adverts to you based on websites you visit, and then cap your usage of high-bandwidth services.

There is a petition on the Prime Minister website about this – if you’re at all concerned about this, sign it.


5 thoughts on “Stop Virgin capping the internet and profiling my every move.

  1. I think that it’s probably the principle that’s the issue, the fact that your activities on the web will be monitored and processed.

  2. Malcom, it’s not to do with the display of adverts, it to do with the profiling of everything I do online, every webpage I visit, every forum I post on, and using that data to target adverts to me.

    Once they’ve got the data, what’s to stop them looking for more ways to make money from it?

  3. I hate this type of activity talk about the start of china internet monitoring. Big brother is watching everything you do.
    Like all marketing schemes it will begin with them saying its for your protection against internet fraud or protecting your family from viewing damaging sites.
    When the real process is being used to monitor your e-mails, internet viewing contacting organisations who target you and in the end you get letters though your door saying you signed up for a 30 day trial of this software if you continue to use this software after this date we will inform the authorities and have you taken away for water boarding. By the way we want you to vote for labour we noticed you taking interest in conservative web sites recently would you ring this number so we can talk you into voting for labour as it will aid our business in the long run.

    I know extreme circumstance I am fed up of being told I live in a free society where my word is heard when the reality is we are all sheep being monitored and watched 24 7 in case we drop a bit of lint out of our pocket and quickly fined.

    Infact heres one for all you monitors now how to set off UK and USA alarms. Bomb, Terrorist, George Bush. Radioactive Sheep.

  4. Virgin Media, ( The Mother F – – – er of all Broadbands ) have cut a secret deal with The B.P.I. They are capping Peer to Peer users during prime hours.
    Every single day of the week, my Ten Meg Connection goes down so badly between 6pm and Midnight, that I can barely even check my emails without closing all other internet applications.

    They are so greedy, selling the deal on account of the fact that people want to use the internet to download film torrents, Music, and Games etc. and then they limit us to the hilt.

    They are fully aware that if people did not use torrent sites etc. that they would never be able to sell the package, but they don’t want to foot the bills for “so called” copyright. They prefer to punish the people that they sell the deal to instead.

    Now they have become so arrogant as to think that they have the right to spy on peoples internet preferences, and the content of their downloads.

    They have become Voyeurs, and Control Freaks.
    Not only that, they are quite blatantly breaking the law.

    Everyone has the right to absolute privacy.
    The Initials P.C. mean Personal Computer. What right have they to invade peoples privacy in such ways. Monitoring and watching peoples activities equates to cyber stalking. This is most certainly a serious crime. People are imprisoned for internet stalking. Just because they are incredibly Wealthy Internet Service Providers does not put them above the law. Yet these criminals are getting away with it.


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