Sympatico.ca > Privacy Policy
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Privacy Policy
Last updated April 1, 2003

Welcome to the Sympatico network of websites (the "Sympatico Network") operated by Bell Canada's Sympatico Portal Division ("Sympatico"). The Sympatico Network consists of web pages at the URLs www.sympatico.ca,, and pages linked thereto which display the Sympatico Network branding bar and which include a footer link to the Sympatico Network Terms and Conditions (the "Terms and Conditions") or to this Sympatico privacy policy (the "Privacy Policy").

This statement discloses the privacy practices of the Sympatico Network. By using the Sympatico Network or by agreeing to the Terms and Conditions you consent and agree, without limitation or qualification, to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information and to the privacy practices set out in the Privacy Policy and to any other privacy or data collection policy which is displayed or is included as a link in any individual Sympatico Network web site.

The Privacy Policy contains detailed information about the following:

  1. What information of yours does the Sympatico Network collect?
  2. What are "cookies" and "web beacons" and how does Sympatico use them?
  3. What organization is collecting the information?
  4. How does the Sympatico Network use the information?
  5. With whom does the Sympatico Network share the information that is collected?

  6. How can you access, edit or delete your information?

  7. How can you opt-out?

  8. What types of security procedures are in place to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of your information?

  9. What can you do to better protect yourself on the Internet?

All questions or concerns regarding our use of your information and this statement should be directed to:

Sympatico Site Privacy Coordinator
Bell Canada,
Sympatico Portal Division
207 Queen‚s Quay West, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 1A7

Please note that the Sympatico Network contains links to other sites. Sympatico cannot and does not represent or guarantee that their privacy practices will be the same as those set out in the Privacy Policy. So bear in mind that sites that are linked to Sympatico Network sites may have privacy policies which differ from that of the Sympatico Network.

The Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time so please check back periodically. The updated policy will be displayed or linked to web pages at the Sympatico Network. By using the Sympatico Network after the updated policy has been so posted, you consent and agree, without limitation or qualification, to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information and to the privacy practices set out in the updated Privacy Policy. Personal information collected prior to the posting of the updated Privacy Policy will only be used or disclosed for new purposes set out in an updated Privacy Policy once you have consented to such use by using the Sympatico Network after the updated policy has been posted to the Sympatico Network.

1. What information of yours does the Sympatico Network collect?

The goal of the Sympatico Network is to be your premier destination on the Internet by providing you with the information, services and product offerings ("Products and Services") that are most relevant to you. To achieve this goal, the Sympatico Network needs to collect information to understand what differentiates you from its other unique users. We collect two types of information, "anonymous information" and "personal information".

Anonymous information refers to information that is not about an identifiable individual. Each time a visitor comes to a Sympatico Network site, Sympatico may collect information that is necessary to improve the overall quality of the visitor's online experience. Sympatico may collect computer and connection information such as the visitor's IP address (e.g., whether the user is logged on from a .ca, .com, .gov or .edu domain), referral data (e.g., the address of the last URL a user visited prior to clicking through to a Sympatico Network site), and browser and platform type (e.g., a Netscape browser on a Macintosh platform). Sympatico also collects aggregate search terms from its search services for internal reporting and targeted advertising. Sympatico collects this user information for purposes of product monitoring, product improvement, and targeted advertising.

In addition to this anonymous information, Sympatico may also collect information that is about an identifiable individual ("personal information"). Personal information includes information that tells us specifically who you are, such as your name and postal code. Wherever and whenever Sympatico collects personal information we make an effort to include a link to this Privacy Policy on that page. If the page does not contain the Sympatico Network branding bar or if it displays or contains a link to a privacy policy or to terms and conditions of an entity other than Sympatico then, except as otherwise provided herein, this Privacy Policy does not apply and the privacy practices of the entity that operates such site will apply.

Sympatico collects personal information in the following ways from different parts of the Sympatico Network:

  1. Personal information is gathered when you voluntarily register with one or several of the Sympatico Network sites. If you choose to register you may provide Sympatico with your name, postal code, email address, birth date, gender and other information. While not all of this information is required, the more information you volunteer (and the more accurate it is), the better we are able to customize your experience. Once you register you are given a Sympatico Network ID and are able to take full advantage of the many offerings over the Sympatico Network, including personalization services. For example, your Sympatico Network ID is used to offer you customized news, sports scores, weather reports, horoscopes and other customized information. The number and variety of useful services the Sympatico Network provides continues to grow and so will your ability to make use of these services if you choose to register for them. If you choose not to provide the requested information, the Sympatico Network may not be able to offer you some of the personalized services that depend on this type of information to function. However to register, you still have the option of providing only the minimum necessary information.
  2. In addition to registration for various services on the Sympatico Network, Sympatico may ask you for personal information at other times, including certain necessary information when you enter a sweepstakes, contest or promotion offered at a Sympatico Network site, or request, subscribe for or purchase a product or service through the Sympatico Network.
  3. If you contact the Sympatico Network, we may keep a record of that correspondence. We do not collect any email addresses of those who communicate with the Sympatico Network via email. We use the information provided only so that we may respond to the email.

2. What are "cookies" and "web beacons" and how does Sympatico use them?

We also collect anonymous information using "cookies." A cookie is a small text file containing a unique identification number that is transferred from a web site to the hard drive of your computer so that the web site may identify you and allow you to move between Sympatico Network sites without having to sign in each time. This unique number identifies your browser-- but not you -- to the Sympatico computers whenever you visit one of the sites in the Sympatico Network. A cookie will NOT let a web site know any personal information about you, such as your real name and address. The coding in the cookies Sympatico sets lets us know that you are using a particular computer but nothing more. Since cookies are only text files, they cannot run on your computer, search your computer for other information or transmit any information to anyone.

To help serve you better Sympatico uses cookies to:

  1. Help us remember who you are through your browser settings so that Sympatico can offer and provide personalized services. Sympatico uses cookies to store and sometimes track information about what is done and seen across the Sympatico Network. Cookies also allow us to save passwords and preferences for you so that you will not have to re-enter them the next time you visit.
  2. Measure traffic patterns. Without cookies, it could be difficult for Sympatico to know that certain services are more popular than others are. This information helps us to better understand when to offer new services.
  3. Estimate audience size. Cookies help us know whether or not users have seen particular displays, including advertisements.
  4. Displaying advertisements. Sympatico and third party advertising networks used by Sympatico may use cookies when serving advertisements. See section 3 below for details on the information gathering practices of our ad serving partners.

Cookies are used on most major web sites. Most browsers are initially set up to accept cookies. If you prefer, you can reset your browser either to notify you when you have received a cookie, or to refuse to accept cookies. You should understand that while Sympatico does not require you to use cookies, certain sites will not function properly if you set your browser to not accept cookies.

The Sympatico Network may contain electronic images known as Web beacons - sometimes called single-pixel gifs - that allow Sympatico to count users who have visited those pages and to deliver co-branded services. Web beacons are not used to access your personal information on the Sympatico Network; they are a technique used to compile aggregated statistics about Sympatico Network usage. Web beacons collect only a limited set of information including a cookie number, time and date of a page view, and a description of the page on which the Web beacon resides. Sympatico Network web pages may also contain Web beacons placed there by our advertising partner to help Sympatico determine the effectiveness of our Internet advertising campaigns.

3. What organization is collecting the information?

When you provide personal registration information at any Sympatico Network site, that information is collected by Sympatico. It may be disclosed to other organizations in the circumstances described in Section 5 below.

The majority of the online banner advertisements you see on Sympatico Network web sites are served through a reputable third party. If you would like to know more about what information is collected and how information is used by our third party ad server or about its "opt-out" procedures, please click here.

Sympatico runs many promotions, contests and sweepstakes across the Sympatico Network. These promotions, contests and sweepstakes may be operated by third parties on behalf of Sympatico, in which case personal information may be collected by such third party, or disclosed to such third party by Sympatico, for the purpose of the promotion, contest or sweepstakes. If you do not want to have Sympatico share your personal information for such purposes, you can choose to provide only the minimum information necessary to participate in such promotion, contest or sweepstake, or choose not to participate in it.

Be aware that Sympatico Network sponsors and other advertisers have links on our sites that take you to other sites that may collect personal information about you. This Privacy Policy does not cover third party data collection practices and Sympatico does not assume any responsibility for the actions of such third parties.

4. How does the Sympatico Network use the information it collects?

Any personal information you provide to Sympatico when registering for Products and Services at any of the sites forming part of the Sympatico Network is maintained and accessible only by Sympatico, unless specifically stated otherwise. Sympatico requests information from its users so that users can enjoy customized experiences across the Sympatico Network, including personalization services, interactive communications, games, online shopping and many other types of content and services.

Sympatico may use the information it collects as follows:

  1. To offer its users the ability to customize or personalize content on the Sympatico Network, such as news, weather reports, sports scores, horoscopes and more.
  2. To deliver products and services requested.
  3. Sympatico uses the anonymous, aggregate data collected to inform our sponsors and advertisers as to numbers of people who have certain demographic characteristics and the number of those people who have seen and "clicked" on their advertisement(s). We will also disclose to those third-party sponsors and advertisers the overall demographics available regarding who saw and "clicked" on their advertisement. No personal information will be disclosed to these sponsors and advertisers as part of this process; only information in an anonymous, aggregate form will be disclosed.
  4. Sympatico also uses the anonymous, aggregate data to perform statistical analyses of the collective characteristics and behavior of our registered users and visitors, to measure user demographics and interests regarding specific areas of the Sympatico Network, to describe our services to third parties such as prospective business partners and advertisers and to analyze how and where best to use our resources. Without such data, we would not know what the most popular areas of the Sympatico Network are, and we would not be able to change and update the content and services appropriately. Sympatico also uses such data to monitor and improve the operation of the Sympatico Network and to maintain the quality of the Products and Services made available through the Sympatico Network. No personal information will be disclosed during these activities.
  5. With your specific permission, Sympatico may, from time to time, use your personal information to contact you about changes or enhancements to Products and Services on the Sympatico Network. If you indicated that you were interested in receiving offers or information from selected Sympatico Network sponsors and advertisers, Sympatico will send you email publications and mailings about products and services that we feel may be of interest to you. For those who elect to receive such materials from Sympatico or third parties, and who indicate that they do in their profile, Sympatico will release personal information. Personal information released includes name, email address and other necessary information supplied in the Sympatico Network registration process. If at any time you would like to end your subscription to any email materials, follow either the directions posted at the bottom of the email material, or the directions at the email newsletter company's web site.
  6. If you enter a sweepstakes or a contest on the Sympatico Network, we will use the personal information you provided to contact you in the event you win. All Sympatico contest entry forms provide a way for you to opt-out of any communications that is not related to awarding prizes for the promotion. These entry forms also provide users with a choice on whether to receive email marketing materials from third parties. Any information you provide will not be shared with such third parties unless you agree through the appropriate consent box on the entry form. If you enter a contest, you may be asked, under the rules of the promotion, to agree that the promotion sponsor may use your name in relation to announcing and promoting the winners of the promotion.
  7. Sympatico may also use personal information if it has reasonable grounds to believe the information could be useful when investigating a contravention of a federal, provincial or foreign law; for an emergency that threatens an individual's life, health or security; if the use is clearly in the individual's interest and consent is not available in a timely way; or if knowledge and consent would compromise the availability or accuracy of the information and collection is required to investigate a breach of an agreement or contravention of a federal or provincial law.
  8. Sympatico may disclose personal information (i) to an advocate or notary or a barrister or solicitor who is representing it; (ii) if required to comply with a subpoena or warrant issued or an order made by a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information, or to comply with rules of court relating to the production of records; (iii) to a government institution or part of a government institution that has made a request for the information, identified its lawful authority to obtain the information and indicated that (A) it suspects that the information relates to national security, the defence of Canada or the conduct of international affairs, (B) the disclosure is requested for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada, a province or a foreign jurisdiction, carrying out an investigation relating to the enforcement of any such law or gathering intelligence for the purpose of enforcing any such law, or (C) the disclosure is requested for the purpose of administering any law of Canada or a province; (iv) to a person who needs the information because of an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual; (v) for purposes related to investigating a breach of an agreement or a contravention of the laws of Canada or a province; or (vi) where otherwise required by law.
  9. Sympatico may disclose personal information in connection with a corporate re-organization, a merger or amalgamation with another entity, or a sale of all or a substantial portion of the assets of Sympatico provided that the personal information disclosed continues to be used for the purposes permitted by this Privacy Policy by the entity acquiring the information.

5. With whom does the Sympatico Network share the information that is collected?

In order to provide you with content and services that match your interests, Sympatico has relationships with many of the best services and content companies on the Internet. Many of these services also require registration to make them function properly. You can recognize most of these sites by the joint branding of Sympatico and such companies. As well, if you see a logo on the page that says 'Powered by third party"', you are on a co-branded site. Other third-party relationships are "private label" relationships where another entity provides Sympatico with technology, services and/or content under Sympatico Network branding. These sites form part of the Sympatico Network if pages at the site display the Sympatico Network branding bar and a footer link to the Terms and Conditions or to this Privacy Policy. If you provide, or if Sympatico collects, personal information on a co-branded or private label site that forms part of the Sympatico Network, that data may be shared with the partners for the purpose of providing the products and services available at the site.

In addition to finding co-branded sites that form part of the Sympatico Network, you will find direct links on the Sympatico Network to sites offered by third parties that are not part of the Sympatico Network. Some of these sites are authorized to use the Sympatico Network brands and/or logos. In some cases the operators of such sites may disclose personal information collected by them to Sympatico. Such information will be used by Sympatico solely in connection with the products and services of such third party. This Privacy Policy does not, however, apply to the privacy practices of such sites. If you feel that a site using an Sympatico Network brand and/or logo does not follow an acceptable privacy policy, please contact the Sympatico Privacy Site Coordinator by clicking here.

Sympatico may disclose personal information to its agents, suppliers and service providers in conjunction with providing you with Products and Services or operating portions of the Sympatico Network. Such entities will be required to use personal information provided solely for such purposes. In addition, Sympatico may share data with trusted partners to help us perform statistical analysis. All such third parties are prohibited from using your personal information except to provide these services.

Sympatico does not sell, rent or lease its customer lists to third parties. Sympatico may, from time to time, contact you on behalf of external business partners about a particular offering that may be of interest to you. In those cases, your personal information (e-mail, name, address, telephone number) is not disclosed to the third party.

6. How can you access, edit or delete your information?

The Sympatico Network provides its registered users the ability to access and edit the personal information in their user profiles. Currently, to access and edit your personal information, you have to go to the specific Sympatico Network site where you registered. Sympatico also offers all users who have volunteered any personal information to Sympatico the opportunity to review the information provided and to rectify any inaccuracies. Please contact our Privacy Site Coordinator by clicking here.

7. How can you opt-out?

You can opt-out of providing personal information and from receiving information on Sympatico Network updates and new services, as well as direct email offers from selected Sympatico Network partners and sponsors. This is done at the point of initial collection of information and during the editing or updating process. The process to opt out of most Sympatico Network email materials is the same as the process for editing user information profiles described above. In addition, all such email materials have easy-to-follow unsubscribe directions posted at the bottom of the email. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

8. What kinds of security procedures are in place to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of your information?

The Sympatico Network has security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of your user data under our control. Sympatico attempts to keep such information in secure facilities, protected from unauthorized access and kept only as long as is reasonably required. Only persons who have a need to know your personal information for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy have access to the user data you choose to provide to us. Sympatico has imposed strict rules on Sympatico Network employees who have access to the databases that store user personal information or to the servers that host our services. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration to data will not occur, we make reasonable efforts to prevent such occurrences. Any other particularly sensitive information, such as your credit card number collected for a commerce transaction is encrypted prior to transmission. Sympatico is not liable for any use or disclosure of your personal information that is beyond our reasonable control.

You are responsible for the security of your Sympatico Network ID and password. Please take care when using and storing them. Sympatico recommends that you do not divulge your password to anyone. You should log out of your browser at the end of each computer session to ensure that others cannot access your personal information and correspondence, especially if you share a computer with someone else or are using a computer in a public place like a library or Internet cafe.

9. What you can do to better protect yourself on the Internet

  1. Know the risks.

    When you communicate with others online, you should be aware that, when disclosing personal information such as one's actual name, member name or email address on a web page, in a newsgroup, chat room, forum or any other medium, such information may be collected, used, and further disclosed by others outside the Sympatico Network. Accordingly, if you do not want your personal information to be available to others arising from such activities you should not participate in such activities or you should limit the personal information you make available.

  2. Educate yourself.

    Search the Web for as much information as you can about how to protect your privacy. Look for a privacy statement in the sites you visit.

  3. Educate your children.

    While the Sympatico Network works hard to protect children on its sites, Sympatico cannot protect their privacy once they leave. Please teach children to not give out their names or other personal information to anyone on the Internet. They should also be instructed not to fill out any forms or register at any Web site without your knowledge and consent. Take advantage of the online resources for parents available on the Sympatico Network, such as our resources for safe surfing, site blocking, and child-friendly sites.


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