10/20/2015 16:50 EDT | Updated 10/20/2016 01:12 EDT

CRTC dismisses consumer group complaint against Bell targeted ads program

TORONTO — The CRTC has dismissed a consumer group's complaint against BCE's now defunct targeted advertising program, which used the personal information of Bell Mobility customers to serve them ads online.

The company had launched the program in the fall of 2013 and suspended it in April of this year following a report from Canada's privacy commissioner that found Bell hadn't obtained the proper consent to use the data.

Bell signed up every customer that did not explicitly opt out of the program, and the privacy commissioner said the company should have asked paying customers to opt in.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre filed a challenge to the targeted ads program in January 2014.

In Tuesday's ruling, the CRTC said that Bell's decision to suspend the practice rendered the complaint moot. But the regulator reiterated the privacy commissioner's stance that any telecom provider must obtain opt-in consent from paying customers before using their personal information for targeted advertising.

The Canadian Press