Lawsuit–Tim Hortons Collected Geolocation Data Without Consent

Image from iStock

Image from iStock | Famous Canadian coffee brand Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons has agreed to resolve several class action lawsuits alleging that it tracked the movements of its customers without their permission using its app.

Customers in Canada who meet the eligibility requirements will get a free hot beverage and baked product under the proposed settlement, which needs to be approved by a judge.

Customers began receiving emails outlining the proposed settlement on Friday, and James McLeod posted copies to Twitter.

Twitter: @jamespmcleod

“You are receiving this email in connection with a proposed settlement, subject to Court approval, of a national class action lawsuit involving the Tim Hortons app and the collection of geolocation data between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020 As part of the proposed settlement agreement, eligible app users will receive a free hot beverage and a free baked good.”

Twitter: @jamespmcleod

In other words, the restaurant chain will provide you coffee and a doughnut in return for your location data. In addition to providing the drink and snack, which have a respective retail value of $6.19 and $2.39 CAD plus taxes, Tim Hortons has also agreed to permanently delete any geolocation data pertaining to group members. Importantly, the restaurant chain insists to news that neither the claims nor the proposed compensation constitute an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

Image from iStock

The business informed clients via email that it will erase all geolocation information it had collected from them between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, and that it had instructed third-party vendor Radar Labs to do the same.

Image from iStock

The claims were made public in a National Post article when a reporter discovered that the software had tracked their whereabouts more than 2,700 times in just under five months. The software requested users’ consent to track their location, but users were deceived into believing that tracking would only occur when they were using the app, according to a later probe by Canadian privacy watchdogs. Instead, Tim Hortons claims that they were followed throughout the day, allowing them to deduce where they lived, where they worked, and when they attended rival restaurants or important sporting events.

The Tim Hortons app was tracking and recording users’ positions every few minutes, even when they didn’t have the app open, according to a Canadian privacy official inquiry last month. The investigation found that the corporation and Radar Labs lacked sufficient user consent for that degree of tracking.

Image from iStock | Sign of Tim Hortons café in downtown of Ottawa, Canada. Tim Hortons is a popular
Canadian fast food restaurant.

It is not thought that Tim Hortons abused the data and the company has not admitted to any wrongdoing. It likewise escaped punishment.

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