Yesterday we learned of Bell’s plan to track the crap out of many of the services you pay them a king’s ransom for and then sell your usage patterns to whomever it chooses.
Since then, a few things have happened.
Several people have complained, which is nice. I don’t know how many, but it was enough to get the attention of the federal Privacy Commissioner’s office, which has announced an investigation.
“We will be investigating,” he said in an email, adding that the office does not comment on active investigations but could choose to publish its findings if it deems that to be in the public interest under federal privacy legislation.
I realize it’s just a statement and this is a total nitpick, but if? Of course your findings will be in the public interest. It’s Bell’s interest in the public that got us into this mess in the first place, so it would be kinda interesting to hear how things shake out.
For its part, Bell is being typically Bellish about things, insisting that really, people don’t mind being tracked.
“We followed every guideline that they have,” Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and residential services, said in an interview Tuesday. “I believe we’re completely on side with any guideline that they’ve published ever and we’re actually doing something that consumers generally are in favour of and want.”
“We view it as a positive, value-add service for our subscribers,” he said. “And of course for advertisers it’s another step forward in their ability to reach the right people with the right message.”
Because when you think value-added service, you think of your internet, phone and television viewing histories being combined with your location in a giant database and being shopped around to lord only knows, am I right?
These words from Bell come on the heels of a tweet from a reporter with the Canadian Press noting that more than 3000 people had clicked the link in the outlet’s wire story to the opt out page on Bell’s site in a matter of hours.
It’s a good thing Bell is a media company and not a doctor, because it sure is piss poor at taking a pulse.
If you’re a Bell subscriber and would like to opt your subjected services out of as much tracking as is currently possible, you can do so at http://mobilebrowser.bwanet.ca/optout/v2/bell-en.jsp …as long as you can solve the CAPTCHA. And guess what, blind kids. There’s no audio.
I’ll say this for Bell. At least they’re consistent. Consistently terrible, but consistent.