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Wednesday WTF: For Whom the Bell Sold

Vincent Colistro

You’ve got nothing to hide. You’re an upstanding, shoes-wearing citizen who smells like soap and carries good conversations. You haven’t a single thing to hide. What does it matter if Bell Canada, this past week, announced that it will track their customers’ location, media habits, search activity, website interests, and application usage? You’re a modern individual, certainly far progressed from that puritanical tradition of privacy being a matter of decorum and shame. So what if you’re a public entity, if you’re visible?

Bell, (being, it assures us, fully compliant with Canadian law), simply wants to know your search terms, your phone calls, your applications, your websites, your age, your gender, where you live and how you pay your bills. Nothing pernicious. Just everything you seem to be.

Come on, killjoy. It’s only going to be used to create a detailed, comprehensive profile for you so that it knows what to advertise to you. You know, cut through all the richness of your character, round down your idiosyncrasies a bit—really get to the bottom of this whole Coke or Pepsi question that keeps you awake some nights.

And if you’re worried that this whole cycle of gathering trends and selling trends might evolve to produce lowest common denominator identity types, don’t worry about it. You will stay inside Bell. Bell won’t give your personal information away to other companies. Besides, there are all sorts of other ways to express that adorable individuality of yours.

And if the worst happened? God forbid, if for some reason, eventually, governmental organizations decided self-preservation was a higher priority than freedoms, (far-fetched, to be sure), and if, hypothetically, they could access this information on you to find out if you might act against your better judgment and piece together some kind of dissenting opinion or, worse, some kind of public demonstration, they probably (probably!) wouldn’t use your information to ensure subservience. Probably.

It’s high time you learn to stop worrying and love the Bell.


Fine print: Or, I guess if you have to, you can opt out of it here

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