Privacy of Cellphone Records

In response to a cover story in Maclean’s Magazine about the ease by which they were able to acquire copies of the cell phone records of the federal Privacy Commissioner, Bell Canada issued a press release:

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.

No comment on whether the records of other customers were also compromised.