Issues and Activities

CRTC asked to stop Bell Mobility’s “Relevant Ads” Program

January 27, 2014

OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) today filed an application challenging Bell Canada’s collection, use and disclosure of customer information gathered from its own wireless customers for behavioural and other marketing.

The application, which was filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC), argues that Bell’s unprecedented collection, use and disclosure of customer information for marketing is contrary to Canadian telecommunications policy – rules intended to protect Canadians’ privacy.

In November of 2013 Bell announced that it would begin, without customers’ express consent, to track a range of customer information known to Bell from that customer’s use of Bell’s own services (including age, gender, location, browsing history, app and device feature usage, TV viewing, and calling patterns) in order to deliver targeted ads to their Bell Mobility subscribers based on their behaviour.

“Bell has overstepped its role as a neutral provider of telecommunications services”, said John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “Canadians have every right to be concerned about their personal privacy when the company they pay for telephone, wireless, internet and TV service begins tracking and using information about them in this way.”

“Bell is trying to ‘double-dip’ by taking your subscription fees and then selling information based on your use of the services you just paid for”, said Bruce Cran, President of CAC. “It’s inappropriate – and asking that Canadians “opt-out” of this program they never asked for is wrong.”

PIAC invites all Canadians to submit comments on the PIAC/CAC application, which can be found at BellRelevantAds.pdf

For more information:

John Lawford
General Counsel and Executive Director
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)

Bruce Cran
Consumers’ Association of Canada