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Michael Geist's Blog

The Great Canadian Personal Data Grab Continues: Bell Expands Its Consumer Monitoring and Profiling

Last week, I wrote about the Great Canadian personal data grab, focusing on the expansive data collection habits of RBC (with its Android app) and Aeroplan (with its collection of all credit card transaction data). Now comes news that Bell is getting into the personal data grab game with an updated privacy policy that takes effect in mid-November. The new Bell "privacy" policy expands the uses of the information the company collects by focusing on ways to use data on network usage.  The current policy makes no reference to network usage data, but the company now wants to use a wide range of personal data collected from Internet and mobile phone usage.

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.


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EU Assures that CETA Does Not Contain ACTA Copyright Rules

While the Canadian government provided few details on the copyright rules in the Canada - EU Trade Agreement (largely emphasizing that CETA is consistent with recent copyright reforms), the European Commission posted an updated fact sheet on the issue. The European document focuses on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, providing assurances that CETA does not contain ACTA provisions with respect to Internet providers or criminal copyright provisions. The document, which appears to be a re-release of a year-old document, states:


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