U.K. ISP Will Require Users to Opt-In to Phorm’s Ad-Targeting System

U.K. Internet Service Provider Talk Talk, one of the launch partners for behavioural ad-targeting company Phorm, will require its customers to opt-in to participate in Phorm’s controversial new Webwise system.

Speaking with ClickZ News today, a Talk Talk spokesperson said “We believe in offering our customers a choice, and as a default they will be opted out of the system. Nobody will become a part of this that does not want to.”

The spokesperson added that Talk Talk would be encouraging its users to opt-in; adding the ISP is “completely satisfied that [the Webwise system] offers customers benefits, both in more targeted advertising and in security.”

It’s hardly surprising that the ISPs like Talk Talk will recommend their users signing up for the targeting, since they’re the ones that will be pocketing the revenue share.

Phorm states that the advantage for the consumer is in its anti-phishing alerts, which are built into Webwise alongside the ad targeting. However, anti-phishing protection is now already included in the majority of Web browsers.

Ultimately therefore, the success of Phorm appears to hang on whether or not users want to receive targeted advertising. If ISPs choose to introduce the platform as opt-in, it’s difficult to see why users would actively do so without more of an incentive.

When you factor in the recent privacy concerns surrounding Phorm’s technology, it will be interesting to see just how many Talk Talk users do in fact opt-in over the next few months.

The spokesperson said that deployment of Phorm technology in the Talk Talk network was still “a long way off.”

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