'A Mass Invasion of Privacy' but No Penalties for Tim Hortons

jim bell jdb10987 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 12 18:41:14 PDT 2022


One way to figure out how deeply Tim Hortons is woven into Canada’s fabric is a cross-border comparison. If McDonald’s, perhaps its closest analogue in the Uni...

"The vector for Tim Hortons’ large-scale snooping, according to the report, was its mobile phone app, which was downloaded 10 million times in the three years following its introduction in 2017. At first, the app had typical retail functions involving payment, loyalty points and placing orders."

"But the privacy commissioners found that in 2019, Tim Hortons slipped in a new feature. With the help of Radar, a geolocation software company based in the United States, it turned the GPS systems in customers’ phones into a corporate snooping tool. Many apps, of course, ask users for permission to access their phones’ GPS while they’re actively using the apps for potentially useful features like locating the nearest outlet of a store, bank or restaurant."

"The Tim Hortons app, however, went far beyond that, tracking users around the clock anywhere in the world — even when the app was closed. It recorded not only their geographic location but also whether that location was a house, factory or office and, in many cases, the name of the building they were in. It even, according to the report, recorded whether they were popping into rival coffee shops. The continuous tracking took place despite users being told that they would only be tracked while using the app."

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