Bell hit with $750 million in class action lawsuits for privacy foibles

Bell sign

Bell has been hit with $750 million in class action lawsuits for violating the privacy of millions of its customers in a recent scuffle with the Privacy Commissioner.

The company had been collecting browsing data from its mobile and internet customers and selling it to third-party advertisers in order to serve relevant ads. While many companies engage advertisers this way – ads are an inevitability of a free internet – Bell’s policy of automatically entering its customers in the program without their explicit consent is what earned the ire of the PCO.

After the Privacy Commissioner’s Office released a scathing report on Bell’s policy, the company met with officials and agreed to shut off the program, deleting all relevant data in the process.

The law firm behind the lawsuits, Sutts, Strosberg LLP and Charney Lawyers, claims Bell violated the Telecommunications Act by engaging in the program without user consent, and wants oversight into the deletion of customers’ browsing details.

Bell has said it plans to reopen the Relevant Ads Program on an opt-in basis in the future.

The lawsuits, one of which is for Quebec and another for the rest of Canada, asks Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile customers with data plans between November 16, 2013 and April 13, 2015 to answer a questionnaire to ascertain interest.

[source]Bell Mobility Breach Lawsuit[/source]