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Advocacy groups challenge Bell’s data collection on its wireless customers

A man uses his cellphone in downtown Toronto September 3 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Two consumer advocacy groups are challenging Bell Canada's tracking of how its wireless customers use the Web, what they watch on TV and their phone call patterns.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers' Association of Canada have filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, arguing Bell's data collection goes against policies that protect privacy.

Bell announced last November that it would collect consumers' data to put targeted ads on mobile devices, improve its network performance and for marketing reports.

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The company has said the data it collects will not be linked with a customer's identity and they can opt out of the program.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre says Bell has overstepped its role as a provider of telecommunications services.

It also says Canadians should be concerned about their personal privacy when the company they pay for telephone, wireless, Internet and TV service begins tracking and using information about them in this way.

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