内容

谁来保护消费者隐私
Companies improve their bottom line at expense of consumers’ privacy


前不久当我想要购买一台搅拌和面机时,我在网上做了一些搜索后列出了不同价格和不同品牌产品的选择清单。当我对选择那种和面机迟迟难定夺时,却在接下来的几个小时里惊奇地发现在我所浏览的一些无关网站上总是跳出某种品牌的和面机的广告。

When I was looking for a KitchenAid mixer that can make soft dough awhile ago, I did some online shopping, which left me with a list of options with different prices and brands. As I was mulling over the best choice, an ad for a brand name mixer appeared on several unrelated websites that I visited in the next few hours.


这一发现让我发懵:这些网站怎么会知道我想要购买搅拌机?显然我的私生活遭到他人偷窥,这种不祥之感让我不寒而栗。

But I was quite taken back: how did these websites get to know that I wanted to buy a kitchen aid machine? I was grappled with a sense of fear that someone was mysteriously prying into my private life.


但在几周后,一则令人震惊的新闻报道解开了我心中的谜团。据媒体报道称,一名患有睡眠呼吸暂停症,也就是在睡眠过程中暂停呼吸的男子向加拿大隐私专员提出投诉,称自己的隐私权遭到侵犯。

But a stunning news story a few weeks later has helped solve the mystery. According to media reports, a man, with sleep apnea, a condition which affects breathing during sleep, filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner alleging that his privacy was breached.

该名男子曾在网上搜索治疗睡眠呼吸暂停的医疗设备,但之后他就突然震惊地发现自己在访问其他与睡眠障碍完全无关的网站时,此类设备的广告也总会“如影而至”。

This man was searching online for medical devices to treat this medical condition, and he was shocked to be suddenly “followed” by ads for such devices as he visited websites completely unrelated to the sleep disorder. 


隐私专员经调查后最终确认投诉人指控属实。在调查过程中,隐私专员发现在诸如新闻和天气等毫不相干的测试网站上的确会出现相关医疗设备的广告。

The Privacy Commissioner confirmed the complainant’s experience.  Ads for the medical devices were displayed on test sites about unrelated issues, such as news and weather.


加拿大隐私专员办公室的调查显示,在该名男子访问提供有关呼吸道属压设备(CPAP)信息的网站时,Cookie信息就保存在他的电脑浏览器里。此后每当该男子访问会显示谷歌广告的网站时,这些Cookie信息就会触动CPAP设备广告,使其在电脑屏幕上显示出来。

The investigation by OPC revealed that when the man visited sites offering information about continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, a cookie was placed in his computer’s browser.  The cookie ultimately triggered ads for CPAP machines to appear on the man’s screen when he visited websites that displayed Google ads.


该调查结果解开了我的疑惑。我电脑中的cookie信息可能就是最大的泄密者,而谷歌也因此得以窥探我的上网活动。在对该名男子的恐惧和担忧感同身受的同时,也深知他所遭遇的麻烦可能远超于我。如果说一台搅拌机至多只能透露我的饮食喜好,更为敏感的健康信息遭外泄则更令人恐怖和难以接受。

That investigation had also solved my mystery. While the cookie in my computer could be the biggest betrayer, Google had been prying on my online activities. Sharing the same fear and concerns with this man, I realized that he could be in far more frustrated situation than mine. If a kitchen aid mixer only revealed my dietary concerns at most, losing guard on far more sensitive information of medical conditions could be terrifying and alarming.


在互联网时代,随着越来越多企业通过搜集用户的上网活动信息而赚取商业利益,消费者的上网活动信息也日益成为颇 具价值的商品。消费者的上网活动也因此被追踪、收集、并用于创建营销策略或是出售给广告商。

In this internet age, consumers’ online activities have increasingly become valuable commodities, as a growing number of companies have collected customers’ online activities to improve their bottom line. Consumers’ online activities has been tracked, collected and used to create a marketing strategy or to be sold to advertisers.


在2013年,加拿大贝尔公司据称推出了富有争议的“关联广告计划”,该计划旨在跟踪、收集、并出售其本公司以及Virgin Mobile用户的网络浏览信息。

In 2013, Bell Canada allegedly began the controversial Relevant Ads Program that tracked, collected and sold its customers' and Virgin Mobile users' Internet browsing data.


这种商业行为损害了消费者的利益,并引起加拿大隐私专员办公室的关注。在两年前,隐私专员办公室颁布了在线行为广告指引,禁止广告商收集个人健康信息等敏感个人信息,以设计量身打造的广告。

This business practice has harmed consumers’ interests, and raised red flags for OPC. Two years ago, the OPC issued Online behavioral advertising guidelines, prohibiting advertisers from collecting sensitive personal information, such as individuals’ health information, to deliver tailored ads.


在最近几周,加拿大隐私专员办公室针对加拿大贝尔发起索赔金额高达$7.5亿元的集体诉讼,指控贝尔追踪用户的上网活动,包括他们所使用的应用程序,浏览的网站,以及观看的电视节目,并将相关信息出售给广告商。

In recent weeks, the OPC launched a $750-million class-action lawsuit against Bell Canada for allegedly tracking consumers’ internet activities – including what apps they use, what websites they surfed and what TV shows they watch—and sell the information to advertisers.

据隐私专员称,贝尔的用户资料数据库“引发了隐私担忧”。

The commissioner said Bell's customer profile database "raises privacy concerns".


多伦多Charney律师事务所的Ted Charney在周四晚间公布的一份新闻稿中称:“关联广告计划是该加拿大电讯公司为了增加广告收入而进行的错误尝试,如果允许其继续发展,将会对所有加拿大人的隐私权构成威胁。”

"The Relevant Ads Program was a misguided attempt by a Canadian telecommunications company to generate advertising revenue. If allowed to proceed, it constitutes a threat to the core privacy rights of all Canadians," Ted Charney of Toronto-based Charney Lawyers said in a release Thursday night.


贝尔公司随后已同意停止建立资料数据库,并承诺将会删除相关数据,并且在以后推出任何类似计划时都会让客户以“自选方式”加入。

Bell subsequently agreed to stop building the profiles, promised to delete the data, and to adopt an "opt-in" policy for any similar programs in the future.


除了索赔,相关诉讼还要求贝尔公司雇佣一名专家,以监督和确认贝尔公司按照承诺销毁其用户的个人信息。
In addition to monetary demands, the lawsuit also asks for an expert to be hired to oversee and confirm that Bell has destroyed its customers' personal information, as promised.


但我却怀疑相关诉讼是否能够阻止其他公司的类似网上窥探行为。接下来我打算购买一台切面条机,如果我上网时看到面条机广告如影随形,则绝对不会再感到惊讶。

But will lawsuits deter other similar business practices from continuing their online prying practices? I seriously doubt it. If I see that I am followed by online ads for a kitchen aid mixer to cut noodles, which is my next product to buy, I wouldn’t be surprised.


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