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Phorm writes off critics as 'privacy pirates'

LONDON - Phorm, the targeted online advertising company, has launched a website to counter claims from privacy campaigners, who it has labelled "privacy pirates'"and "agitators", about its controversial technology.

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The site, stopphoulplay.com, was set up by Phorm chief executive Kent Ertugrul.

On it, the company claims it has been targeted by a smear campaign "orchestrated by a small, but dedicated band of 'privacy pirates' who appear determined to harm our company".

Phorm, which allows advertisers to track online behaviour and target consumers with relevant marketing, has been immersed in controversy. Partners include Google and Microsoft.

The European Commission is currently taking legal action against the UK government for allowing trials of the system on the BT network without consumer consent.

Additionally, Wikipedia and Amazon have announced they will block the system.

Phorm's site complains that privacy bloggers and letter-writing campaigns have targeted journalists, MPs and regulators to "distort the truth and misrepresent Phorm's technology".

The site has also published links to a number of stories that it claims have damaged Phorm's reputation. Among these are reports of the EC's legal action against the UK by the BBC and the Daily Telegraph.

Phorm said these stories incorrectly hinted its service was illegal under UK law.

Individuals named by Phorm as privacy pirates include campaigners Marcus Williamson and Alexander Hanff, whom Ertugrul described as a "serial agitator".

On hearing of the site's launch Williamson said Phorm had itself resorted to smears.

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