Adi Kamdar, an activist at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it’s not surprising that telecoms like Bell are taking steps toward tracking customer information for marketing purposes, given that it’s already a common practice for many social-media enterprises like Twitter.

“The issue though, is who these companies are partnering with,” he said, because once customer details are offered up to outside firms, “you don’t necessarily know how they’re using the data.”

Kamdar pointed to a breed of businesses known as “data brokers” that aggregate customer information, including personal details, from a range of sources and resell it to clients in the private and public sectors. One of the largest of these companies, Acxiom, has so far compiled about 1,500 “data points” on half a billion people around the world, according to The New York Times.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013