Bell’s new tailored marketing program will collect more personal information for targeted ads

The telecommunications service provider says that new advertising program should provide customers with more useful ads

National telecommunications service provider Bell is informing customers about its ‘tailored marketing program’ that would collect more personal information about subscribers to provide customized targeted ads.

According to Bell’s online marketing website, subscribers who choose to opt into the tailored marketing program “won’t see more ads, just more relevant ads.”

“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 an excerpt from the service provider’s website.

“Participants who consent will enable Bell to use information including Internet browsing, streaming, TV viewing, location information, wireless and household calling patterns, app usage and the account information when provided when services are obtained from us where such information is available and associated with the participant.”

“…it’s totally opt-in and if you change your mind you can opt out altogether or by service anytime” — Bell spokesperson

Bell’s website explains that information like age, gender, primary language, revenue, billing address, device types and data-, messaging- and voice-use are all collected by the telecom.

However, Bell won’t collect financial, health or sexual orientation information, nor will the company collection transaction information, personal credit score numbers or the contents of voice or digital communications, “or similar sensitive information.”

It’s worth noting that Bell will only collect information from the services that customers are subscribed to.

“If only one of our services is subscribed to, then only the usage information from that service will be available to inform tailored marketing,” reads an excerpt from Bell’s website.

The company will also collect information from any additional services that customers are subscribed to.

Additionally, Bell’s marketing partners won’t have access to the personal information collected by the telecom. Instead, individuals who opt into Bell’s tailored marketing program will simply receive relevant ads from Bell’s partners.

“Customer personal information is never shared with advertisers or anyone else…” — Bell

Bell’s website claims that individuals who choose to participate in the program “may enjoy a number of benefits, including additional advertising relevance, meaningful cost savings, and knowledge of local promotions.”

Bell subscribers wanting to opt out of the program can do so by visiting the company’s marketing preferences website.

According to the Canadian Press, Bell began informing subscribers about the tailored marketing program in December 2018.

A Bell spokesperson told MobileSyrup via email that the new tailored marketing program is an “expansion of the marketing initiative we launched in 2016 for Bell Mobility customers – it’s now available to TV, Internet and phone customers.”

“Like the original program for mobile customers, it’s totally opt-in and if you change your mind you can opt out altogether or by service anytime,” said Bell, in the same email.

“Customer personal information is never shared with advertisers or anyone else and the program adheres to all Canadian privacy regulations and guidelines.”

“Tailored marketing means Bell will be able to customize advertising based on participant account information and service usage patterns…” — Bell website

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) previously released a report in 2015 outlining the OPC’s position on Bell’s former ‘Relevant Ads’ program.

After the OPC’s report was published, Bell informed the Office that the telecom chose to withdraw its program and delete all subscribers profiles pertaining to the program.

“Bell said that if it were to launch a similar program in the future, it would do so using express opt-in consent,” said an OPC spokesperson, in an email with MobileSyrup.

The same spokesperson told MobileSyrup that no complaints about Bell’s tailored marketing program have been received, and that the OPC is “not in a position to comment on it.”

Via: Canadian Press

Update 07/01/2019 10:21am ET: Story updated with comment from Bell and the OPC.