Canada privacy watchdog raps BCE knuckles over targeted ads

Tue Apr 7, 2015 2:45pm EDT
 
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TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - Canada's largest telecom company will scale back its profiling of customers, which BCE Inc uses to sell targeted advertising services, after a rebuke from the country's privacy commission.

Montreal-based BCE said it will abide by the watchdog's recommendation that it ask customers to opt-in to the program but said the rules should also apply to companies such as Facebook Inc and Google Inc.

The targeted profiling from BCE, which operates under the Bell brand, has a "significant impact on privacy," a 16-month investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner found.

Its report released on Tuesday said Bell can track every website its customers visit as well as every app they use, TV show they watch, and phone call they make. It can then package that information with demographic and account data to build customer profiles.

Bell also agreed to stop including credit scores in such profiles, the commission said.

Bell is fighting a number of battles with another regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, including over Super Bowl advertising and a ban on discounting its own content sent to its customers' mobile devices.

The full report can be found here: here#heading-006

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernard Orr)