The largest telecom company in Canada wants to monetize its customers’ personal data, but not without getting their consent first, as required by Canadian privacy law, writes the CBC. Will users give in to the demand? Do they simply no longer care about online privacy?
In December 2018, Bell Canada started reaching out to customers to get their permission to track their personal data and digital activity patterns on all services they use through the provider. Think smartphone, TV and internet activity, online purchases, transactions, downloads and social media activity, besides the usual personal information such as age, gender and address: all the information needed and much more to create customer patterns.
The company claims it wants to follow in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, and use the information to enhance user experience, and for tailored marketing and advertising campaigns.
“Tailored marketing means Bell will be able to customize advertising based on participant account information and service usage patterns, similar to the ways that companies like Google and others have been doing for some time,” reads the notice Bell customers received.
Bell will also gather the “number of messages sent and received, voice minutes, user data consumption and type of connectivity when downloading or streaming.”
While some might hope consumers will get something out of this, chances are little to none. So far, Bell hasn’t clearly explained its plan to strengthen security or fend off threats now that it expects to store such large amounts of valuable information, leaving consumers’ privacy and security at risk.