The most recent MacLeans magazine has a cover story on privacy, including one in which a reporter acquired the cell phone records of the federal Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart (see: The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: That's a little cheeky: MacLean's Magazine buys Privacy Commissioner's cellphone records off the 'net).
Bell Canada has just issued this press release to deal with the fallout from the story:
Bell Canada statement on the protection of customer information: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance:
Monday November 14, 6:00 pm ET
MONTREAL, Nov. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Canada today issued the following statement in response to an article in Maclean's Magazine about some customer call information obtained from Bell and other telecommunications companies.
Bell has learned that a journalist working for Maclean's hired a U.S.- based information brokerage company to seek privileged call information records of a few customers of Canada's leading telecommunications providers including the Federal Privacy Commissioner.
Bell wishes to assure its customers that protecting the privacy of customer information is a serious matter for the Company. To this end, Bell has systems and procedures in place that are continually updated to better protect customer information.
In this case, the information was obtained through subterfuge and misrepresentation. Bell, other telecommunications companies and the customers involved were victims of fraudulent and unethical activity. We sincerely regret any embarrassment or inconvenience that has occured.
As soon as the Company was made aware of this incident, it took additional steps to further tighten the safeguards in place to protect customer information. Unfortunately this may cause some inconvenience to customers legitimately requesting their personal information. We ask for their understanding as these procedures are for the protection of their private account information.
This problem has affected others in our industry, both in Canada and the U.S. The Company is continuing to investigate whether there are any legal actions, either criminal or civil, that Bell or others in the industry, or government agencies can take to stop these fraudulent practices and protect consumers.
Perhaps they can complain to the Privacy Commissioner?