FRONT PAGE: Web tool firm in PR fightback

The company behind a controversial web tracking device has brought in heavyweight PR support as it struggles against a tidal wave of negative coverage.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Phorm has taken on Freuds, Citigate Dewe Rogerson and ex-House of Commons media adviser John Stonborough in a last-ditch attempt to save its reputation. The company recently hired former Yahoo head of European PR David Sawday as its head of comms.

Phorm tracks a user's browsing activity and sends on the details to third-party internet service providers.

This week there was a spate of critical coverage, inc­luding allegations that such tracking technology breaches privacy rights.

The British inventor of the world wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC: ‘I want to know that, if I look up books about some form of cancer, it's not going to get to my insurance company, and I'm not going to find my ins­urance premium going up by five per cent.'

Berners-Lee did not mention Phorm by name.

The company defended its product, with Sawday insisting: ‘It's the gold standard in terms of privacy.' He added that Phorm would be contacting Berners-Lee in an attempt to win him over.

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