Tim Hortons App Violated Privacy Laws, Infuriating Canadian Authorities: ‘Our Daily Lives Are Treated as a Commodity’

Tim Hortons App Violated Privacy Laws, Infuriating Canadian Authorities: 'Our Daily Lives Are Treated as a Commodity' thumbnail

As concerns about surveillance in an increasingly digital age continue to mount, Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons is one of the latest companies to come under fire for privacy violations.

A federal investigation by the privacy commissioner into the Tim Hortons app for mobile, which has four millions users, revealed that the app gathered large amounts of user data without consent. CBC . Two years ago, the Financial Post reported that Tim Hortons’ mobile app had collected users’ geolocations without their consent.

Related: In $11 Billion Deal, Burger King Scoops Up Tim Hortons and Heads to Canada

According to the report, Tim Hortons tracked granular location data for the purpose of targeted advertising and product promotions — though the chain never actually utilized the information for those purposes. Radar, a third-party company that collected the data for the restaurant chain, was investigated and found that there were insufficient contractual protections for the users’ personal information.

“The location tracking ecosystem, where details of our daily lives are treated as a commodity to be exploited to sell us products and services such as a cup of coffee, heightens the risk of mass surveillance,” Daniel Therrien, Canada’s privacy commissioner, said at a teleconference for journalists on Wednesday.

Tim Hortons stopped gathering location data in August 2020, and the company has agreed to delete all granular location data and have its third-party service providers do the same. The company also agreed to create a privacy management system for the app and any future apps in order to prevent privacy violations.

Related: Burger King and Tim Hortons to Curb Antibiotics Use in Chicken

” We’ve increased the strength of our internal team dedicated to privacy enhancement and we’re continuing our focus on ensuring guests can make informed choices about their data when they use our app,” the company stated in a statement.

Restaurant Brands International Inc, Tim Hortons’ parent company, is down 24% year over year.

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