updated 12:50 pm EDT, Fri May 30, 2008
Bell Can. throttling suit
Bell Canada is facing a class-action lawsuit as a result of its Internet access policies, an announcement reveals. A Quebec group called L'Union des consommateurs, along with Bell customer Myrna Raphael, are accusing Bell of false advertising, as a result of its practice of throttling traffic at peak hours. Raphael is said to have signed a three-year ADSL contract in 2006, partly on the basis of Bell's claim of "constant speed" at all times; by enabling throttling last fall, says Raphael, Bell broke its agreement.
Bell is further accused of violating users' privacy, by using a technology called deep packet inspection (DPI) as part of the throttling process. Although DPI may be used for beneficial purposes, such as the control of spam, viruses and hacking, it has also been implicated in more sinister uses such as censorship, net neutrality violations, and government spying in countries like China and the US.
As punishment for Bell, Raphael and the UDC are seeking 80 percent of customers' monthly subscription fees, a figure said to be proportionate to Bell's throttling. Subscribers would additionally be eligible for $600 regarding false advertising, and $1,500 as compensation for privacy violations.