Is what we do on-line private? Do we already give up our personal on-line freedom just by browsing the internet? My initial answer to these questions was 'No' but once you start to look into it, opinions can change. I like many others, have been browsing websites for years not giving a second thought to what personal information I'm freely distributing throughout the world wide web. Websites can already find out a lot about your computer, Web Browser, Operating System, what plug-ins you have, even down to the city you are in at that time by you IP Address.
This all may seem relatively harmless until you take into account Phorm! Phorm is a private company in the UK, which has signed up with several of the major ISPs to track everything there users do online. Phorm will build an "anonymous" profile of each user not just to track the websites they visit, but the content those web pages have, the search terms they use, what downloads they choose, everything. They say they will use this information to make the web "more relevant". Now i see this as a huge invasion of privacy and something i should have the option of agreeing to, not a "lets hope they don't notice" approach. This may even be illegal under UK law. The thing i find hardest to understand is why the ISPs have agreed to it.
They have had a long standing approach that they cannot track what there users do online and therefore cannot be held liable for there users actions. Surley Phorm opens them up to potential legal battles. Or are they going to use this information to remove the users that may look at or stumble across questionable content? Does this mean we have to start behaving, like a naughty school child under the watchful eyes of strict teacher? I know its early days but is this the start of a Orwellian approach to the web, how long before companies like this spring up around the world? How long until our IP address pinpoints our house on a map and they know what we want before we do? Or am I just a sceptic?.
IP Address Global Position