WINDSOR, ON, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - A $750 million national class action has been commenced against Bell Mobility Inc. and Bell Canada Inc. on behalf of Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile customers for a privacy breach resulting from Bell's Relevant Ads Program. It is alleged that the defendants used the program to track, collect and sell customers' sensitive account and internet browsing information to advertisers. The lawsuit seeks damages for breach of privacy, breach of contract and breach of the Telecommunications Act. A similar lawsuit was commenced in the Province of Quebec.
On November 16, 2013, Bell Canada commenced the Relevant Ads Program which tracked Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile customers' account and network usage information, including internet sites they visited on Bell Mobility's network, to generate marketing reports that were sold to advertisers. Following Bell's announcement of the program, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada commenced an investigation after receiving an unprecedented volume of complaints.
On April 7, 2015, the Privacy Commissioner released a report in which it found that Bell violated the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act because it did not adequately disclose the nature of the information and customers were not given the option to properly consent to the use of their information for the program.
On April 13, 2015, Bell Canada announced the cancellation of the Relevant Ads Program. While Bell promised to delete all customer profiles created under the program, the lawsuit seeks the appointment of an expert to oversee and confirm the destruction of the personal information.
The lawsuits were launched by Sutts, Strosberg LLP and Charney Lawyers, leading class action firms with expertise in privacy breach class actions. The firms represent the plaintiffs in national class actions commenced against the federal government for privacy breaches in the Marihuana Medical Access Program and the Canada Student Loans program.
"The Relevant Ads Program was a misguided attempt by a Canadian telecommunications company to generate advertising revenue. If allowed to proceed, it constitutes a threat to the core privacy rights of all Canadians," said Ted Charney of Charney Lawyers. "Through this class action, the plaintiff seeks to hold Bell accountable and stop other providers from selling customers' personal information without informed consent," said David Robins of Sutts, Strosberg LLP.
Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile of Canada customers who had accounts with a data plan between November 16, 2013 and April 13, 2015 are encouraged to register at:
SOURCE Sutts, Strosberg LLP