Telecom Procedural Letter addressed to Philippe Gauvin (Bell Canada) and Marc Nanni

Ottawa, 21 August 2019

Our reference:  8638-B2-201905879

BY EMAIL

Mr. Philippe Gauvin
Assistant General Counsel
Bell Canada
Floor 19, 160 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2C4
bell.regulatory@bell.ca

Mr. Marc Nanni
6, Monaco
Gatineau, Quebec, J8T 4L9
m_nanni@hushmail.com

RE:   Part 1 Application by Bell Canada to allow Bell Canada and its affiliates to temporarily block certain potential verified fraudulent and scam voice calls on trial basis File No. 8638-B2-201905879– Mr. Nanni’s requests

Dear Mr. Gauvin and Mr. Nanni:

By letter dated 5 August 2019, Mr. Marc Nanni requested, among other things, (i) the production of certain documents referred to in the above-named application and (ii) disclosure of certain information filed in confidence by Bell Canada in that application.

Letters in support of Mr. Nanni’s requests were filed by Dr. McKelvey and Me Phillips on 8 August 2019 and by Dr. Reza Rajabiun on 11 August 2019.

By letter dated 15 August 2019, Bell Canada provided its response to Mr. Nanni’s requests.

In addition, by letter dated 20 August 2019, Bell Canada requested an extension to the deadline for filing responses to Commission staff’s Requests for Information from 6 September to 27 September 2019.

Request for documents

Mr. Nanni requested that Bell Canada provide a copy of all customer correspondences referred to by Bell Canada at paragraph 8 of its application.  In addition, Mr. Nanni requested that a copy of the documents that Bell Canada states will be available on its website, be placed on the public record. In addition, Mr. Nanni requested a copy of the procedures and documentation related to the redress mechanisms referenced by Bell Canada at paragraph 8 of its application.

In response, Bell Canada submitted that the documents requested by Mr. Nanni are irrelevant to this process as they do not pertain to the call blocking trial, which is the subject of its application.  Bell Canada stated that these documents relate to its customer communication plan and redress mechanisms which will be in place prior to the launch of its network level call blocking as per the Commission decision in CETRP 2018-484 Footnote1 and are not notifications pursuant to the call blocking trial proposed in this application. 

Bell added that since filing the Part 1 application it has launched the website and has begun sending out customer notifications and that it is continuing to finalize its redress mechanisms, in compliance with the requirements set out in CETRP 2018-484.

Commission staff considers that the documents referenced by Bell Canada at paragraph 8 requested by Mr. Nanni relate to the proceeding that led to CETRP 2018-484 and are not required for the purpose of examining the issues and determining the matters raised by Bell Canada’s application. Accordingly, production of these documents will not be required.

Disclosure of information designated as confidential

Mr. Nanni requested disclosure of the figure submitted in confidence at paragraph 11 in Bell Canada’s application. Mr. Nanni argued that Bell Canada’s whole filing is based on blocking these additional calls not caught by CETRP 2018-484 and referred to by Bell Canada as “verified fraud calls,” and that the proposed call blocking could result in additional false-positives as a result of the machine learning and AI. Mr. Nanni submitted that this figure is the basis for Bell Canada’s proposed call blocking, which disregards CETRP 2018-484 and could terminate signals of legitimate calls.  He added that there is a great public interest in this value held as confidential and used as a basis for blocking signals which, for example, may have originated from someone’s grandmother.

Bell Canada submitted that Mr. Nanni’s request for disclosure should be denied.  Bell Canada stated that its remediation measures have been filed in confidence with the Commission as placing too much information about the trial on the public record could provide bad actors with the information needed to change their tactics and could reasonably be expected to result in material gain to the bad actors and perpetuate significant financial harms to Canadians targeted by their scams. 

With respect to Mr. Nanni’s request to identify the number of additional calls that could be blocked as there is concern that the trial could contain false-positives, Bell Canada noted that no additional calls would be blocked as a result of this trial.  Bell Canada explained that its Call Blocking trial would build upon the requirements of CETRP 2018-484 and that under the trial, calls would not be blocked without human review of the calls or call patterns to ensure that calls proposed to be blocked are verified and confirmed as fraudulent and scam calling.  Bell Canada stated that it will ensure that no false positives occur during the trial and if they do it is prepared to end the trial and re-evaluate its solution.

Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) and sections 30 and following of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure). In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. An assessment is then made as to whether there is any specific direct harm likely to result from the disclosure of the information in question and whether any such harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The factors to be considered are set out in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, 23 December 2010, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

Commission staff considers that Bell Canada has not demonstrated specific and direct harm likely to result from disclosure that would outweigh the public interest in the disclosure of the figure filed in confidence in the second line at paragraph 11 of the application. Accordingly, Bell Canada is to file, within 5 days of the date of this letter, a revised abridged application disclosing on the public record the figure in question in paragraph 11.

Extension of intervention and reply deadlines

Bell Canada requested that the Commission extend the period for its reply to interventions, from 9 September to 25 September 2019 to allow its subject matter expert time to review and respond to any potential interventions.  As noted above, Bell Canada subsequently requested that the deadline for filing responses to RFI be extended to 27 September 2019.

By letter filed on 5 August 2019, Mr. Marc Nanni requested an extension to 11 September 2019 for the intervention deadline.

Commission staff considers that, in the circumstances, extensions to deadlines for filing RFIs, as well as for filing interventions and replies are appropriate. Staff considers that both the intervention and reply deadlines should be extended in an equitable fashion in fairness to all parties. In addition, an extension to the intervention deadline is appropriate to ensure that interested parties other than those who originally received copies of Bell Canada’s application have an adequate opportunity to participate. 

In light of above, the deadlines associated with Bell Canada’s Part 1 application are modified as follows:

All documents must be received, and not merely sent, by the dates indicated.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Steven Harroun
Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, CRTC

cc.

Dr. Fenwick McKelvey
7141 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec, H4B 1R6
fenwick.mckelvey@concordia.ca

Me. Mark Phillips
4104, rue Saint-Denis
Montreal, Québec, H2W 2M5
avocat@markphillips.ca

Dr. Reza Rajabiun
6-95 Weldrick Rd E.
Richmond Hill,  Ontario, L4C 0H6
reza.rajabiun@gmail.com

Interested parties to CETNOC 2017-405, 2017-405-1 and other providers of voice telecommunication service

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