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Ipsos iris – Bribing the Public to Install Spyware

Ipsos MORI, longtime UK Government collaborator on “Market Research” matters, including pseudo-random households getting letters inviting them to COVID-19 studies on behalf of the Government to get tested, have a new scheme going.

It is called Ipsos iris (and I’m sure the eye reference is just a complete coincidence) and they are emailing (copy) the public via a company called Opportunity Online Group Ltd (and possibly others) who only recently (26th October 2020) changed the name of this allegedly “dormant” company according to Companies House data from the name they have on their website which is Estra Information Group Ltd. This website goes by the domain name arcgreen.co.uk although it presents as “The Betterinfo”, a contract comparison website. If you try to actually navigate this site you’ll get 404 errors for anything relating to the services the site ostensibly offers. All very strange.

Stranger still is the company (Opportunity Online Group Ltd) was set up in August 2018 by two people. One a resident of Germany who was a director of 40 other companies only one of which is still active, although also listed as dormant and operating from the same address. The address (20-22, Wenlock Road, London, England, N1 7GU) a “virtual office/work hub” used by Made Simple Group Ltd. The other is a resident of Thailand who is still actively associated with OOG and also another dormant company.

So how is this related to Ipsos MORI and their “iris” project? The email sent out to members of the public were from the arcgreen.co.uk domain, presented as if they are from Ipsos Iris. The invitation to “Register for a new study and earn Supermarket gift cards” takes you to a page (copy) that after a redirection lands you on “enter.ipsosinteractive.com” where you’re invited to “Join Ipsos iris and earn up to £120 worth of rewards a year!” and a link you can click after agreeing to the usual T&C nonsense.

After a few more clicks where you’re led to believe this is merely a survey you’ll get paid for you end up on a page (copy) where you’re introduced to a “new research study which will build a picture of all online activity in the UK across smartphones, tablets and computers. This research is endorsed by UKOM who govern the UK standard for online audience measurement” and shown 3 simple steps…

  1. Determine your eligibility by completing this 5-10 minute questionnaire about yourself and the devices you use to connect to the internet.
  2. Install our app or VPN certificate onto your smartphones, tablets and computers. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure connection method we use to protect your information. This will measure which apps and websites you visit on your devices.
  3. Complete a 10-15 minute questionnaire telling us about your household and internet activity.

At this point you’re told that this requires you to install a VPN and your rewards will increase up to a whopping £10 worth of “points” depending on the number of devices you install it on.

There is of course, obligatory pleas to trust them as they are collecting information “in accordance” with GDPR (because that has solved all our data privacy issues hasn’t it?) and links to their privacy policy. You’re in complete control you are assured, and can stop at any time. Mmmhmm.

The main issue is this is blatantly predatory and capitalising on people in financial dire straits that has been created by the Great Reset implementation pushed by Governments under the guise of lockdowns for the Public Good, and only after you’ve gone though numerous links does it mention this is not just getting vouchers for completing surveys but “rewarding” you for sharing all your internet activity. Even the way it describes the VPN…

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure connection method we use to protect your information.

…is disingenuous at best, but is really frankly downright dishonest. Most people won’t know what it is and what it could be capable of despite all assurances about security, privacy and GDPR.

Ipsos MORI certainly appear to be preoccupied with COVID-19 at the moment with almost every link on their main website page relating to findings, opinions and so on including the latest buzz-phrase “Vaccine Hesitancy”. Presumably their research is intended to fuel the plans and strategies to tackle that problem. They have a whole study on it here (mirror) entitled “Vaccine Hesitancy – Understanding Belief Formation” with a frankly farcical graph claiming that an online survey of 19,519 adults across 27 countries demonstrates that only 74% of the “global average” would take a COVID-19 vaccine if it was available. A disappointing figure indeed if you’re in the vaccine market where your target is a minimum of 100%.

It is truly astonishing that the supposedly intelligent people that devise these studies and sit in their expensive offices and labs analysing all this “Big Data” think that less than 20,000 people somehow represents the opinions of the world. One can only assume that as they are not stupid people, they do understand that the alleged opinions of 0.00026666666666667% of the world’s population cannot possibly represent the opinions of the world’s population, and are simply using data and statistics dishonestly. See the image at the bottom of this article to put that sample size in perspective with the world’s population it is supposed to represent.

They do go on to dissect how people form opinions with their “Models of Decision Making”. They conclude with the following:

To date, much of the psychological research on vaccination behaviour and risk perception has been focused on the individual. However, humans are social animals and vaccination behaviour is a fundamentally social activity. If we want to deal effectively with the issue of vaccine hesitancy, we need to develop holistic interventions that also reflect social beliefs about vaccines and vaccination.

To reflect social belief formation, this means being sensitive to how beliefs are:

1. formed based on experiences and by looking to others that share views
2. evolve and are maintained socially.

By considering these influences, it will help to build a full picture of how people’s social ecosystem, accounting for their social, cultural and political worldviews – including how mass media has contributed to the creation of shared representations – shape vaccine beliefs.

This also helps us to consider how self-identities, social interactions at every level, and the increasing risk of social contagion through social media play a role in augmenting and amplifying beliefs.

In short, understanding belief formation from both individual and social perspectives will allow us to develop effective and socially sensitive solutions to address the rise of antivaccination attitudes around the world. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact worldwide, with many lives lost. If nothing else, it may at least offer us a window of opportunity for rebuilding understanding of and belief in the value of vaccination

Page 5 – https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/publication/documents/2020-11/vaccine_hesitancy_-_november_2020.pdf

Good to know.

The UKOM website proudly proclaims Ipsos iris to be their new partner for “online audience measurement”. UKOM is ostensibly an “industry stakeholder” group quantifying online audiences “in terms of people, not browser and machines” because advertising is directed at people not browsers.

This all appears to be Approved, presumably Government sanctioned and ticks all the usual boxes for trying to make the world a better place by spying on you. The question is, what has all this got to do with a dormant company called Opportunity Online Group Ltd, set up and run by 2 non-UK residents operating out of a virtual office in London?