BUSINESS
06/29/2020 15:03 EDT

Tim Hortons Mobile App Under Investigation For Data Privacy Concerns

The chain said it recently updated the app to limit location data to only when guests have it open.

Photawa via Getty Images

GATINEAU, Que. — The Tim Hortons mobile ordering app is being investigated by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and provincial agencies in Quebec, B.C. and Alberta.

The joint investigation was prompted by concerns raised in media reports about how the app may be collecting and using data about people’s movements as they go about their daily activities.

It will examine whether the fast food restaurant chain owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc. is in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.

The privacy agencies will look at whether the organization is obtaining meaningful consent from app users to collect and use their location data, information that can reveal habits and activities of individuals, including places they regularly frequent.

The federal Privacy Commissioner’s office says it considers this to be an issue of great importance to Canadians given the very sensitive privacy issues it raises.

Tim Hortons said it is confident about resolving the matter and will fully co-operate with privacy regulatory authorities.

“Since Tim Hortons launched our mobile app, our guests always had the choice of whether they share location data with us, including ‘always’ sharing location data — an option offered by many companies on their own apps,” it wrote in an email.

The chain said it recently updated the app to limit collection of location data to only while guests have it open, even if the customers has selected ‘always’ in their device settings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

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