Muckraker recently reported that Canadian internet providers were installing spyware to read every text message, webpage visited and page viewed on all customers devices. For those who have experienced the aftershock of a lousy Blackberry upgrade, that might sound like the last thing you want.
The reason for that might be that between devices, the companies CAN ANYTHING (including spying). I’ve used both and it’s BS. In this country, all smartphones need to be SIM-unlocked, so that carriers can actually figure out where their phone is (otherwise at “Google’s Rubicon” we’d simply have third party roaming) and for any locked handset to be unlocked, all customer needs to do is a process that is as easy as returning a SIM card from the previous provider.
Unlike all the U.S. carriers, Bell has been remarkably quiet about it. Instead they’ve resorted to posting a video that seems to serve as the interpretation of the law, contradicting their actual regulation that has been adopted. On their website they indicate that the features they are allowed to install are things like autocomplete, web browsing and “social media integration.”
If only that were the case. What that video was missing was a smartphone reading your IMEI number (which is essentially the serial number that identifies the device), allowing the service provider to not only read all messages sent, but also your entire history, regardless of what device you’re using.
My colleague Casey Newton first uncovered that Bell was using spyware. One day after her report, there were hundreds of similar articles about Bell spying, and not a mention of a similar charge at the CRTC — which apparently didn’t notice any investigation.
Enter a big muscular Canadian government. Earlier this week, there was an announcement from the Government of Canada saying that they were going to investigate this whole thing.
Were there shenanigans? Probably not, but there’s still a cloud of suspicion over this story. As I have more time to read their regulations, I’ll write about that in detail (and not only my reports.) But in the meantime, how do you feel about your broadband providers spying on you?
This conversation has begun and started over here on Twitter, but please join in on the discussion:
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