Bell Announces Online Ads “Relevant to Customers While Protecting Their Data”

Yesterday it was revealed Bell was set to launch an online advertising platform based on tracking customers’ habits online, and today the company has officially announced the program which starts on November 16, 2013. All customers are automatically enrolled into this program, but you can opt out.

Here’s how the program works, according to Bell’s opt out page (you need to click Read More to see the info below):

When using the Internet on your mobile device, laptop, computer or TV, you currently see unfiltered and random ads. Starting on November 16, 2013 we’d like to use certain information about your account and network usage to make some of the advertisements and communications you receive more relevant to you. We will not share any personally identifiable information outside of Bell Canada, and its affiliates.

Below are the types of information that will be used:

  • Account information – such as device type, postal code and language preference
  • Network usage information – such as app usage, location, web pages visited, TV viewing, calling patterns and other information associated with your network usage.

The above information will be used in a way that does not personally identify you. Usage information will be grouped with that of other Bell customers with similar usage patterns (e.g. sports fans). This information will be used to prepare business and marketing reports for Bell, or shared with others. This information will also be used to send relevant, targeted marketing offers and promotions from Bell or third parties, however Bell will not share any of your personal information with a third party as part of placing a third party ad.

Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility and Residential Services said in a statement:

“Consumers who use mobile Internet services see a lot of advertising, and we want to ensure that Bell customers see the kind of advertising that actually matters to them. It won’t mean you’ll see more ads, but you’ll see better ones,”

“Bell is absolutely committed to our customers’ privacy and we strictly adhered to Canadian privacy laws in developing our initiative. Bell would never identify individual users or release customer-specific data to advertisers or any other third party.”

Despite the company’s reassurances your data will be collected, the Privacy Commissioner has confirmed it will be investigating the advertising program after numerous complaints were received.

The advertising program looks to be similar to what Google has been doing for years with users and their online habits, but this time Bell looks to follow a similar model with its own customers. Are you going to opt out or stay enrolled into this ad program?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • FragilityG4

    Assuming people actually care about what ads they see …

  • Fireeast

    I completely see text ads in the near future

  • disgusted

    This is absolutely unacceptable, just the fact they keep a record of searches, pages visited and locations of paying customers is disgusting. Let alone selling it for profit. Go to hell Bell.
    We all know how it works when companies posses this kind of data.

  • FragilityG4

    Thankfully you can block them now in iOS 7

  • Ben

    And… We get a nice jBoss error when opting out. Figures…