#CyberFLASH: Privacy commissioner studies Bell ad tracking

Apple Hosts Event At Company's Town HallThe issue of Bell Canada tracking Internet use in order to deliver targeted online advertising remains unresolved even though the company has accepted a privacy commissioner’s recommendation that it first seek customer consent.

“I would just caution that the real issue is still in front of the CRTC, which is whether they are allowed to do this at all,” said John Lawford, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Calling the practice an abuse of privacy, the consumer group has filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, arguing Bell has gone beyond its role as a provider of telecom services.

Lawson says telecom legislation prohibits Bell from using confidential information to support a new business that secures revenues from selling to advertisers the interest profiles of its customers.

Bell tracks only customer Internet use by cellphone clients at present, but has indicated it would extend that to landlines and to TV viewing habits, having argued for more than a year that customers could opt out if they so wished.

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