Home > Bell, Digital Policy, Privacy > Questions Relating to Bell’s Collection of Data Submitted to Competition Bureau

Questions Relating to Bell’s Collection of Data Submitted to Competition Bureau

As I look towards the future on some of my ventures regarding the online creation of media and content, I’ve brought up some of my concerns for the Competition Bureau of Canada to take a look at regarding the collection and use of private information on a competitor stand point.  Hopefully I’ll have some answers soon. This may be interesting to those in media.  I’ve submitted the following to the Bureau:

I’m an online media producer with aspirations of getting into media representation in the near future.  I’m in the process of developing and fine tuning my business plan.  I have some concerns and questions relating to Bell Canada’s collection of user data for the purposes of advertising that may have a direct impact on my ability to compete in this environment.  Bell has notified it’s users that this approach comes into effect November 16th, 2013.

As a content producer myself,  I’m a bit uncomfortable about collecting statistics off of my current and future productions I own without my expressed consent.   I strongly feel Bell does not have a right to collect this data off of my own content without my expressed written consent as a content provider, since they are involved in content distribution and creation, I may one day end up being a competitor to Bell in the media market.  I feel the changes regarding targeted advertising and collection of user data allows Bell to gain a competitive edge over other content distributors since ISPs will have access under this approach to statistics and data not normally collected by content producers publicly.

Furthermore collecting a mass array data off of Bell customers may at some point give the company intimate insight into the workings of other content providers and distributors that are using Bell as an ISP and may be competitors in the media environment to Bell.   That information if profiled could provide sensitive business information to Bell of its competitors within the media market they don’t have a right too, and Bell has the intent of selling that information to other 3rd parties, which may mean other content distributors who have distribution contracts with Bell.  Even if Bell users choose an opt-in approach to Bells tracking data, this issue will still remain.
Another issue I have as a content producer would be the selling of targeted advertising.  Bell Canada has not been clear how it will push forward with this approach, whether the collection of mass data will be used for advertising over Bell specific apps and owned media companies web content, or they will be injected over user’s web browser content.
Questions I would like the Bureau to consider:

1)    Who will have access to the statistics and data from this collection of Bell users? Which 3rd parties will Bell be selling this information to?

2)    Who owns the statistics and data collected by ISPs, Bell , content creators, or users?

3)    Does the collection of sensitive and private statistics for the purpose of profit on any content require consent from the content creator prior to the collection of statistics and data by any party? If not under which circumstances?

4)    Under competition law, is it legal for competitors to track the private online activities of those they are competing against?  If yes, to what extent under law?

5)    How will exactly will Bell be using targeted advertising, what statistics exactly will they be obtaining, and how will those statistics will be obtained on a technical basis?  CRTC has specific regulations regarding the use of deep packet inspection technology to collect data. In fact they forbid it.  Has the technology changed?  Are they using deep packet inspection?

6)    Is there currently a way for content not owned by Bell to be abstained from this approach?

As I am preparing my business plan to enter into this market, answers to these questions will help tremendously in directing that business plan accordingly.

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