Dear Bell Customers: If You Don’t Like Being Tracked And Sold To, I Have Some Bad News For You

So wholly crap, this is pretty nuts. The Great Canadian Personal Data Grab Continues: Bell Expands Its Consumer Monitoring and Profiling

Long story short, starting next month, if Bell is your provider for basically anything, I suggest not only being prepared to become the product, but minding that sketchy internet and television use of yours. And don’t you be calling anyone you ought not, either.

Bell identifies the following data for expanded usage:

•Web pages visited from your mobile device or your Internet access at home.
 This may include search terms that have been used.
•Location
•App and device feature usage
•TV viewing
•Calling patterns

Bell will also begin to use account data such as which products you use, device types, payment patterns, language preferences, gender, and age.

The scope of Bell’s intended personal data usage is remarkable. Given that many of its customers will have bundled Internet, wireless, and television services, the company will be tracking everything: which websites they visit, what search terms they enter, what television shows they watch, what applications they use, and what phone calls they make. All of that data will be correlated with their location, age, gender, and more.

Bell says it intends to use the data in several ways.  First, it will begin to use targeted advertising to its customers by using its detailed consumer profile. The default for the company is that all consumers will be profiled and targeted. If consumers don’t want these targeted ads, Bell will force them to opt-out. Second, Bell says it will aggregate its data to sell to other businesses and marketing companies so that they can use the Bell network usage for their own purposes.

Yes. Bell intends to sell the results of its customer spying regime to anybody it likes, who can then do lord knows what with it. This need for extra cash is certainly understandable, since it’s not like the company has several massive, nearly guaranteed monthly revenue streams on which it can rely.

On top of that, let’s not forget that it’s pretty easy for law enforcement to get its hands on all of this data. There doesn’t even need to be a court order for Bell to fork it over should it so choose, which once again raises the question, why were we supposed to need that new expanded snooping law again?

I’m only with Bell for home phone and even that isn’t really by choice anymore, but now I feel even sicker about paying that bill every month.

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