Reportedly, NebuAd's and Phorm's ISP customers are slowing trials of their ad systems based on deep packet inspection. This is where devices are installed at the ISP which can track everything a user does when connected to the internet. The resulting data is analyzed and used to serve more targeted ads.
Except now that Congress and the privacy watchdogs are starting to awaken, apparently the ISPs are scuttling trials or at least slowing them down.
I think that it's likely that these companies will be the proverbial pioneers with arrows in their backs (a bit like DoubleClick, circa 1999). But this technology will eventually be adopted when people aren't so vigilant.
In fact, what company is the big winner if the ISPs can't monetize their packets so easily?
HINT: It starts with a "G" and ends with "ogle".
They have the data that the ISPs have for the most part, and they also have the technology to exploit it, and the marketplace.
So far, for the most part, they've decided they don't need to use that data, and NebuAds and Phorm's political travails mean that Google can defer exploiting ALL of their data for as long as they want to. Or they can deploy so slowly that people don't notice. Either way, they win.