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Phorm ushers in new UK-based directors

Warwick Ashford

Controversial online advertisement-serving company Phorm has ushered in UK-based board members following the resignation of the company's chairman, chief operating officer and two non-executive directors.

Chairman Steven Heyer, chief operating officer Virasb Vahidi, and two non-executive board members David Dorman and Christopher Lawrence quit over a difference of opinion with chief executive Kent Ertugrul.

They said there had been differences with Ertugrul about the "mangagement and future direction of the company" according to the Financial Times.

The move comes as the company, which serves adverts to people based on the contents of the websites they visit, seeks to expand operations in the UK.

All replacements for the outgoing board members announced by Phorm are UK-based. They include former chancellor Norman Lamont and Kip Meek, chairman of the Broadband Stakeholders Group, and Stefan Allesch-Taylor, CEO of investment bank Fairfax.

In the UK, the Phorm system is being considered by BT, Virgin Media and The Carphone Warehouse, but has been criticised by privacy campaigners.

These include the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), which said Phorm's technology breaks the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is reportedly considering whether to prosecute BT over the Phorm ad targeting tests it carried out among customers in 2006.

BT allegedly breached data privacy laws in its tests by not getting permission from broadband customers first, but BT denies it did anything illegal.


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