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Over reaction to big data

Thursday, July 09, 2015 @ 8:00 PM | By Mark Hayes and Lisa Danay

The privacy commissioner of Canada (OPC) recently published recommendations concerning Bell Canada’s relevant advertising program (RAP), which uses subscriber information (including network usage information, page views, postal codes, gender, age, and payment patterns) to customize delivery of advertisements to subscribers, based on opt-out consent. In response to the OPC investigation, Bell made several changes to RAP, including better opt-out options and stricter contracts with advertisers.

Bell rejected one OPC recommendation: that the company obtain affirmative, opt-in consent for the use of personal information for RAP. The...