The Privacy Commissioner of Canada recently ruled that Bell's targeted advertising program violates Canadian law, and that he is considering to initiate legal proceedings against it.
The program, which was announced in 2013, aimed to track customers' mobiles, internet and televisions habits. The controversial issue was whether Bell is allowed to gather information from millions of its customers as long as they do not opt-out of the program, or that it will only be allowed to so as long as the customers opt-in to the program. Bell, which since then began to run the program, chose the opt-out method, despite former concerns and the criticism of the Canadian authorities.
In April 2015, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada presented his final ruling regarding this issue. The Commissioner ruled that the personal information collected by Bell, such as its customers' browsing history and mobile app usage, is "sensitive information" and accordingly, it cannot be used as an opt-out method to collect it. According to the ruling, by doing so Bell is violating Canadian law.
Following the above, Bell complied with the Commissioner's ruling and ended the program. In addition, Bell declared it will delete the information it had already collected on its customers.
Nevertheless, it seems that Bell's recent actions following the Commissioner's ruling do not exempt it from possible liability to its customers. In this regard, very recently, a C$750 million class action suit was brought against Bell because of its program. The plaintiffs claim that by running the program, Bell had breached the contract with its customers and caused them damages by breaching their privacy.