Privacy commissioner asks Loblaws why it’s demanding customers send ID for $25 gift card

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Canada’s sequestration commissioner wants to know why Loblaws is demanding some customers part over a copy of their driver’s licence or hydro bill to get their $25 forte card.

The commissioner’s request follows a CBC News report on customer vex over the extra step to claim their rebate.

In January, Loblaws started gift $25 gift cards after admitting its role in a price-fixing insinuation in which the price of bread was artificially inflated for more than a decade.

In shot to collect, customers had to fill in an online form providing details take ining their name and address. 

While many people have already drew their card in the mail without any additional steps, some entertain been told they need to either mail or send electronically a text of their driver’s licence or a utility bill to Loblaws — or they won’t get anything.

The ID request has ignited a firestorm, with many buyers complaining on social media and to CBC News that they feel the insist on is inappropriate — especially considering Loblaws offered the card to make revises for admitted wrongdoing.

Many also worry about security imperils associated with sharing their personal information.

«That okays identity theft,» said Loblaws customer Chris Brown, of Ottawa. «It can be cast-off and skimmed for all kinds of purposes, regardless of the person collecting the information.»

He place in ordered a complaint last week with the privacy commissioner after he got the call for to provide his ID.

«I already gave Loblaws my address, my name, certainly bumf that’s plenty enough to verify me,» said Brown.

Chris Brown Loblaws Gift card

Chris Brown, of Ottawa, chronologized a complaint with the privacy commissioner after receiving a request from Loblaws to afford a copy of his driver’s licence or a utility bill. (Submitted by Chris Brown)

The Service of the Privacy Commissioner said it couldn’t address specifics about Loblaws’ ID solicitation at this time, but did provide a link to a page on its website concerning retailers accumulating driver’s licence information.

«The driver’s licence number is sensitive and valuable to those avid on committing identity crimes,» it states.

It also says that retailers «photocopying or leaf through the licence generally goes too far,» because a licence contains «more tidings than is needed for most business purposes.»

Loblaws ‘welcomes’ questions

Loblaws depicted CBC News it «welcomes» the privacy commissioner’s interest, because it allows the firm to show it’s taking the proper steps to protect customers’ privacy. The retailer also revealed doing identity checks protects its customers’ interests.

«We are distributing tens of millions of dollars in Loblaw Cards — a usual target for fraudsters,» spokesperson Kevin Groh said in an email.

«Authenticating ID confirms that we are dealing with a real person, and not someone wasting their name or taking money that could otherwise go to them now or in the tomorrow.»

That explanation isn’t good enough for Brown, who doesn’t understand why he has to send in ID and other people don’t. Loblaws intends only a small percentage are being asked to confirm their particularity first, and hasn’t explained its selection process.

«Why am I suspected of fraud?» give the word delivered Brown. «It’s certainly offensive. Is it my address? Is it my name? And why should information on a clandestinely utility bill or a driver’s license be shared with third bands internationally?»

Where’s my data going?

Loblaws’ privacy policy for its pourboire card program states personal data provided could be due with three separate companies working with the grocer: prepaid behave suppliers Blackhawk Network Canada and Peoples Trust Company, as grammatically as U.S.-based legal administrative service company JND Legal Administration. 

JND is the facility card «program administrator» that’s sending the request to some blokes to send in ID. 

The privacy policy also states that «personal tidings may be stored, accessed or used in a country outside of Canada,» including in the U.S. and El Salvador, where sequestration laws may differ.

Loblaws gift card Robyn Fleming

Robyn Fleming, of St. John’s, N.L., was displeased to get this email from Loblaws importuning she send identification before getting her $25 gift card. (Robyn Fleming)

Cybersecurity experts CBC Story spoke with said sharing data among several gatherings and countries raises the risk of a security breach.

«The more cooks in the Nautical galley, the more things can go wrong,» said Ken Owen, a business technology directorate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ont. «That’s just a lot of uninhibited territory for bad things to happen.»

Spokesperson Groh said Loblaws matches the process very seriously, including using «expert third-party administrators» and reversing customers’ documents once their identities have been clinched.

As for upset customers, he offered an apology of sorts.

«For the small percentage we’ve interrogated for ID, we regret that this step slows the process slightly.»

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