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Amazon out of Phorm

Amazon has opted out of Phorm’s targeted online advertising technology.

The move will deprive Phorm of crucial information about what online users are interested in. These details would allow the UK-listed company to build its advertising system.

Phorm allows ISPs to track customers’ actions on the internet so they can gauge users’ interests and present them with relevant advertisements.

Amazon has removed all of its domain names – including Amazon.com – from BT Webwise, which is the platform that Phorm will use to operate.

Amazon is the second most visited shopping and classified website in the UK after eBay.co.uk, according to website monitor Hitwise.

A spokesperson for Phorm said it does not comment on individual cases. The company, which is listed on London Stock Exchange’s growth market AIM, is understood to be planning a meeting with Amazon’s management to explain the benefits of the Webwise system.

Privacy campaigners, the Open Rights Group, have sent a letter to nine internet giants including Google and fellow search engine Yahoo, asking them to opt out.

Legal proceedings against the UK government for breaching data protection and e-privacy rules were launched by the European Commission as a result of secret testing by BT in 2006 and 2007.

Unlike search engines such as Google, Phorm does not store a user’s IP address or browsing history, or log the pages they subsequently visit – known as a clickstream.

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