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Canada Advertising Communications Privacy Your Rights Online

Bell Canada To Collect User Data For Advertising 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-it's-not-enough-that-they-already-pay-you-money dept.
beerdragoon writes "One of Canada's biggest mobile and TV providers will soon begin collecting detailed information on usage patterns of its subscribers. Starting November 16th, Bell plans on using this information to provide targeted ads for subscribers. According to Bell this policy will allow customers 'to receive Internet advertising that's relevant to them rather than the random online advertising they're receiving now.' Customers have until the 16th to opt out of the targeted ads, but there doesn't appear to be a way to opt out of the data collection. Apparently this is not illegal, but it is certainly considered unethical by many."
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Bell Canada To Collect User Data For Advertising

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    then start your own ISP.

    Wait, does Canada have Republicans?

    • Barriers to entry, do you understand it?
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Barriers to entry, do you understand it?

        Nope, he's a mexican.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately they more or less have a government backed monopoly on the infrastructure.

      Dunno how this will effect the competitors which more or less are resellers.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      The problem as I see is is that the lines are owned by Bell (or Rogers in the case of cable). There are many independent ISPs, but they all run through the infrastructure of Bell or Rogers. If your internet connection doesn't work, apart from basic trouble shooting (reset modem, check settings), the independent ISPs have to ask Rogers/Bell to fix the problem for them. You can guess how fast Bell/Rogers will do this. I've been toying with the idea of going with TekSavvy (a popular indie ISP), but all the p
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bull,

        I have been with smaller ISP's in ontario for 20+ years now, I agree that all the data goes through their pipes, but multi day service outages haven't ever happened to me or anyone I know. Actually Bell / Rogers has 24 hours to fix it once it's gone up from the ISP and they usually do quicker than that.

        I am with ViaNet out of Sudbury, I live in Oshawa (a long distance away) and the only service interruptions I have ever had at 3 business locations and my house have been because I am a moron and forgot

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Glad you're getting better service then the people I know. I live in Ottawa, so my experiences and those of people I know may be different than yours. If I knew people with experiences like yours in my area, I'd be more likely to switch.

          For TekSavvy, with Cable, they have to send an email to Rogers when something needs fixing. Then there's a full day for them to respond to that email. Sometimes it gets fixed with that first email, but sometimes it doesn't. The only communication channel between the tw
        • I have cable internet with Distributel (over Rogers network) and last year I had an outage that lasted around 2 weeks. It was exactly like that. Rogers didn't give a crap about fixing the problem. They do this on purpose, which actually makes me hate them even more. Same with Bell Canada. I hate these companies. They received government subsidies from our sweet tax dollars to build their infrastructure. Now they are simply robbing Canadians with their high service fees and crappy service. As long as I have
          • by hazah (807503)
            And for an added bonus, Bell is currently taking Canadians to court because they don't like the rules we make them play by. Guess who's footing that bill...
        • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:59PM (#45206261) Homepage

          Actually Bell / Rogers has 24 hours to fix it once it's gone up from the ISP and they usually do quicker than that.

          Actually according to the TPIA agreements that most of the other ISP's have it's 48 hours, in fact it got so bad not all that long ago that the delays for repairs from Tek to Rogers were in the 7 day range. CNOC has recently filed with the CRTC to fix the TPIA issues and issues to repair, as well as long ticket repair delays. And this is happening across the spectrum, not just with Tek, or Velcom, or Start, but everyone DSL and cable, and getting screwed over.

          If you're Canadian, you should write a letter to the CRTC. Information on it can be found here. [dslreports.com]

          Myself, I've been with Tek back in Ontario for 3 years. I had one two day outage thanks to rogers breaking the routing tables, while doing a node update. Tek gave me the two days back discounted, I'm out in Alberta until December doing a deployment for a small town and the only thing I can get here is LTE for internet, because Telus refuses to upgrade the number of ports available. As a fun point, that's been on-going for 4 years, if you move in this city--you can't move your DSL with you either.

      • There are many independent ISPs, but they all run through the infrastructure of Bell or Rogers.

        Except when it runs through the infrastructure for Telus, Shaw, NorthWestTel, SaskTel, the fibre ISPs on the West Coast, CableTron (I think, whatever it is that Quebec has), the maritimes telcos, etc. There's a hell of a lot more to the telecommunications industry in Canada than just Bell and Rogers. That may be all you poor saps in Ontaria have; but there's more to Canada than just Ontario (as much as you may

        • There are many independent ISPs, but they all run through the infrastructure of Bell or Rogers.

          Except when it runs through the infrastructure for Telus, Shaw, NorthWestTel, SaskTel, the fibre ISPs on the West Coast, CableTron (I think, whatever it is that Quebec has), the maritimes telcos, etc.

          There's a hell of a lot more to the telecommunications industry in Canada than just Bell and Rogers. That may be all you poor saps in Ontaria have; but there's more to Canada than just Ontario (as much as you may not like to think so).

          In Atlantic Canada we used to have our own telcos. eg: MT&T, NBTel, etc. They all merged into Aliant. Aliant became BELLaliant. Aliant used to operate it's own mobility service, even though it had close ties, and roamed for free on Bellus network. Now BELLaliant operates landline services somewhat independently of Bell, mobility is all through Bell.

          Though for Cable, and least in some provinces/ areas we have Eastlink instead of Robbers.

      • by S.O.B. (136083)

        I've had a TekSavvy DSL line for 6 or 7 years now and in that time I've had two outages and one performance issue. The outages were resolved in under 6 hours and the performance issue in about 12 hours.

        Their support people really know what they're talking about and although they follow a script, like any call centre, they actually understand and don't just read from it. And even though they don't officially support Linux they also don't run they other way when you mention it.

        • I had teksavvy for a couple weeks, but ended up having to cancel because Telus has old rickety phone lines in my area and so I could only get a high latency interleaved DSL connection. The ten savvy help desk is/was staffed by high quality personnel. It's really too bad the Telus has such shit lines...
      • In 6 or 7 years, I've never had a Teksavvy outage. If people have outages, regardless of your company, Bell's incompetance is probably a more likely reason than malice.
    • We have the conservative party. They are a right wing political party roughly equivalent to the Democrats.
      • by tqk (413719)

        We have the conservative party. They are a right wing political party roughly equivalent to the Democrats.

        We have a parliamentary democracy. In a majority government situation, they are generally every bit as autocratic as any theocracy or rule by any royal house.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Not only that but with multiple political parties the Conservatives got their majority with 38% of the people who bothered to vote. Tyranny of the minority is what we have here.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        More authoritarian then the Democrats.

    • Worse. We have a "Harper". And we actually elected him to be in charge.

  • by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:22PM (#45204891) Homepage

    Canadian telecom carriers have used the negative option for decades, been scolded by consumer groups and regulators almost every time, yet keep coming back with the old "we're going to go ahead and do this to you unless you say no, and by the way you can pick up the NO form by... um... we're not sure where it is..."

  • by DontBlameCanada (1325547) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:25PM (#45204961)
    Glad I'm not a Bell subscriber, but damn... Now that the line has been crossed I expect every alternate service provider will start doing the same thing.

    Fuck.
    • by mevets (322601)

      Bet you 5 bucks teksavvy won't. Another 5 that Rogers will try, and will inadvertently amuse many people in the process.

      • by webmosher (322834)

        Perhaps Teksavvy won't themselves, but knowing Bell, it would not surprise me to see them collecting data on their wholesale DSL lines that they lease to Teksavvy.

        With all the BS they were pulling with capping the wholesale lines, it would actually be more of a surprise if they weren't... "Oh we had to install the monitoring appliances in our core. We just happen to monitor everyone now."

        Bleh!

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          From Marc of TSI. [dslreports.com]

          we don't sell our customer data to anybody... I'm looking into what this is but it has nothing to do with us or our customers.

          Official answer:

          The underlying AUPs of the incumbents apply to the connections used to provide TekSavvy' services. This is so the incumbents can control network abuse and stop unlawful conduct relating to the use of the connection.

          The incumbents retail terms of service however, that apply to their own end users, do not apply to the customers of TekSavvy.

          The incumbents do not have the right to breach the privacy of retail customers of TekSavvy.

          • by c-A-d (77980)

            Doesn't Teksavvy use PPPoE over Bell's lines? What's to stop them from implementing MPPE and encrypting their customer content? (a google search indicates that this question came up in 2007.)

            • by Mashiki (184564)

              Doesn't Teksavvy use PPPoE over Bell's lines? What's to stop them from implementing MPPE and encrypting their customer content? (a google search indicates that this question came up in 2007.)

              They use PPPoE but use their own server for handling authorization. What's stopping them from implementing MPPE? Probably Bell.

  • by xtal (49134) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:25PM (#45204967)

    I am drafting my complaint to the Privacy commissioner, and you should too. The commissioner has real teeth and Bell will definately have to defend what they're doing. As a regulated utility they do not have right to unilaterally foist this upon people. It's repugnant and evil.

    http://www.priv.gc.ca/index_e.asp [priv.gc.ca]

    The terms are really horrible. Also, the fine print says they're going to collect and use it anyway - you can opt out of the ads. I don't have Bell TV or Phone - just internet - so how, exactly, do they intend to serve me ads?

    Get angry about this. The commisioner can't do anything without complaints. Give them some.

    • Or engage in violence. Internet access shouldn't be a suicide pact.

    • Well this explains all the ads for beaver on the internet.

    • by Kingkaid (2751527)
      Bell already serves you ads when you use their DNS server. For websites that don't exist their DNS redirects you to advertise sponsored pages/searches provided by Bell. Rogers does the same.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      so how, exactly, do they intend to serve me ads?

      Deep packet inspection + replacement of common ad providers like DoubleClick in third party websites?

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        replacement of common ad providers like DoubleClick in third party websites

        It's down on my list of things that piss me off about this, but how the hell is that fair to websites supporting themselves through advertising.

        This whole thing should be illegal. I'm blown away that it's not, and am hoping this enrages enough people to get the process rolling on making it illegal.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          haha, you used enraged when talking about canadians! Canadians are so political apathetic we've let the government slowly destroying anything good in the past decade. Why, we're almost as apathetic and laissez-faire with our government now as the USians are!
          • by Anrego (830717) *

            I was actually quite impressed with the push back against the 1996-level caps usage caps the CRTC tried a while back.

            In that case we were talking direct cost to consumers though. Privacy it's a little more abstract and hard to get the average non-geek angry about. Then again, how many people have lets say "unique" web browsing habits (office stapler porn) that they may not want driving ads their wife/kids/friends using their wifi/etc would see. That's probably the cheat code right there.

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              1996 we were still Canadian and had stuff to be proud of. 2001 we told Bush to shove it with his FUD campaign against Iraq. Then we became more greedy, collected more debt, and voted in Harper (the man which even god cannot bring light to his eyes), ushering in a country wide apathy and greed and environmental destruction that was once only limited to the west.
              • by c-A-d (77980)

                Tell you what, we'll take our apathy and greed and environmental destruction and you can have Quebec.

      • My comment about this is, if they are replacing ads are they also depriving the websites from their ad revenue? I know ad block does the same but at least it is a user choice and I am not getting the ad revenue, but they are basically stealing revenue.

        It would be almost like me rebroadcasting bells satelitte stations and then replacing their ads with my own, I would get sued 6 ways from Sunday.
      • by TheSpoom (715771)

        For the record, my parent comment was a theoretical way that they could serve these ads; it has no basis in any known Bell plans that I've read.

      • by CKW (409971)

        Doesn't that blatantly violate the copyright of the websites who are serving that data?

        Doesn't doubleclick have enough lawyers to blow Bell back to the stone age?

        I specifically remember years ago, when someone tried to build a CLIENT SIDE application that allowed you and others to "comment on top of" a website as it was displayed in your browser, they got completely blown out of the water over this, because they were "defacing and modifying someone else's copyright'd content" -- and that wasn't even as clea

    • by nblender (741424) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:02PM (#45205491)

      I checked when I got the notice the other day. You can't opt out of the ads. You have two buttons you can click:

      - I want Random ads
      - I want target ads

      There is no:

      - I don't want ads

      button.

    • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @05:41PM (#45206663) Journal

      According to CBC, the privacy commissioner is Already Starting an Investigation [www.cbc.ca]

      • by Dr. Evil (3501)

        The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and eternal vigilance is expensive.

        This needs go go beyond just overruling Bell's actions, there needs to be a serious penalty.

    • As a dual citizen, I agree.

      Privacy is in the Canadian Constitution, and Corporations aren't.

    • by Earache65 (681180)
      I totally agree here. This is the link to the Bell support page for more info:

      http://support.bell.ca/billing-and-accounts/security_and_privacy/how_does_bell_respect_my_privacy?step=4 [support.bell.ca]

      I like their response to the single question FAQ - Is my information shared?
      - "No, under these new programs, we will not share any information that identifies you personally outside of Bell Canada and its affiliates."

      Run this through the Corporate Speak Translator and you get:
      - "Yes, we will share most of your data

  • Every other provider is looking around thinking "we've been doing this for years."

  • Now maybe I won't see as many erectile dysfunction, tampon, and reverse mortgage ads during pro sports.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:39PM (#45205153)

    Or switch to an ISP that does not insist on treating their customers like shit.

    • And how do you switch to another cellular provider without incurring penalties?
      Actually, I'm wondering if this could be used as a basis for terminating contracts. I'd love to dump my provider (Virgin, a subsidiary of Bell) if I could due to this bullshit.

      I've heard that when services are greatly changed the ability to terminate a contract is possible. Anyone know if this counts?

    • by antdude (79039)

      Good luck. They will all do it soon. Or there are no other broadband services. One could go to dial-up, satellite, etc. :P

  • The best answer to that is to block their ads completely. And while you're at it all other annoying ads too.

  • The receivers are just that. Unidirectional. So what if you lose most channels full of pathetic content, you'll just have more free time to find the way out of your parents' basement!
    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Thanks for the tip! Now, how do I use it to make phone calls since this is about a cellular provider??
  • by h2oliu (38090) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:53PM (#45205351)

    Charter tried this in the US. It didn't last long. When someone's kids were targeted for ads based on dad's browsing things get ugly.

  • Searched on line for a vacation once. Six months of being followed around by a Club Med Ad....creepy. Same ad, variety of websites....... Loyal adblock user now. I never really minded, but do I need a "personal Barker ?" No, I don't.
  • I use a VPN service at $5 a month to keep browsing private as well as ensure access to skype in countries that block it. I wonder how valuable browsing data would be if you just randomly loaded pages form a list of say 10K urls; especially if a significant percentage of users did that 24x7?.
  • Bell Canada : What are you complaining about ?... we're doing much less than the NSA, and we're doing that for your own good !

    I guess that Bell Canada (like many others) now feels entitled to spy on everybody.

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:55PM (#45206219)

    This is why I switched to Teksavvy. I got fed up with the bullshit Rogers and Bell were pulling, a long time ago. I haven't regretted the decision.

    Not only does Teksavvy not try to foist bullshit on their customers, but they actively fight for consumer rights.

  • Its worse than just that, i just tried to opt out, (I know I should not be on bell to begin with, but my wife set up the phone plans) the options are do you want targeted adds, or random unfiltered adds. Where is no adds, i am paying you way to much money for to little service. I will accept adds if I am getting a free service from someone, but when I am already drastically overpaying for my phone. No chance in hell. I am sending them a letter informing them that I will be leaving there service as in th
  • I dont really care if Bell gives me targeted ads, it is better than generic ads, so I will get ads that are relevant to my interests, which is better than male enhancement and tampon ads. Google has been doing it for years, and I find it amusing when I search some topic then see related ads everywhere. I still dont click them. Infact it gets me in trouble, because if I go to a site that does not have targeted ads and is posting say... 'meet a hot chinese wife today', my fiance would think I had been look
  • The LI implications of this are pretty stark. Forget advertising, what about activist groups that the government doesn't take a liking to? Any data collected by the carriers is fair game to RCMP/CSIS/CSEC
  • "In other news, Bell Canada has started tapping phone lines to improve advertising..."

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