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Telecommunications Giant Rogers taking lessons from Facebook?

18 May 2010
Posted by Shannon

A Toronto cell phone user is suing for the damages caused when Rogers Communications decided, without her permission, to bundle her service with that of her husband. That gave him access to her call records – on a phone contracted under her maiden name – and addressed the newly bundled bill to him. He learned of an affair from her billing records. He filed for divorce, which caused a downward spiral in Gabrielle Nagy’s life that left her jobless.

Nagy is suing Rogers for $600,000 for invasion of privacy and breach of contract. 

In her statement of claim, Nagy argues that Rogers “breached the said duty of reasonable care by acting in a manner below the standard of conduct expected.”

Rogers’ contempt for its clients is obvious in the statement of defence. They point out that she admits the marriage broke-up because of the affair and the company “is not responsible for the plaintiff’s affair or its consequences.”

But apparently they think it’s okay to spread its customers’ private information without their permission? And they assume they have no responsibility for the consequences of invading customers’ privacy? 

Has Rogers been taking lessons from Facebook?

The allegations haven't been tested in court, but I would be inclined to think that it was an honest mistake -- a dimwitted clerk trying to upsell the bundled services -- were it not for Rogers choice to defend in court. They should be apologizing, settling the case, and promising to improve privacy policies. The fact that their defence amounts to "hard cheese: it's not our fault you screwed around on your husband" indicates that they either don't understand the concept of privacy (which is doubtful) or like Facebook, they have contempt for their customers.

It appears they'll continue invading privacy for profit until the courts or consumers smack them into line. 

Regardless of whether she wins in court, I'd say Nagy's experience is a fine reason to boycott Rogers.