In a class action settlement, Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee giant, will now offer a free hot beverage and a baked good as an apology for tracking users of its app.
According to Reclaim the Net, the app tracked the whereabouts of users leaving or entering the premises of their competitors, such as Starbucks, as well as their homes, workplaces and more.
In June, the privacy commissioner of Canada concluded that the data collection violated the law.
"Tim Hortons," Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said, "clearly crossed the line by amassing a huge amount of highly sensitive information about its customers. Following people's movements every few minutes of every day was clearly an inappropriate form of surveillance. This case once again highlights the harms that can result from poorly designed technologies as well as the need for strong privacy laws to protect the rights of Canadians."
In response to the settlement, Tim Hortons told Motherboard, "We're pleased to have reached a proposed settlement, subject to Court approval, in the four class action lawsuits in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario involving the Tim Hortons app. As part of the proposed settlement agreement, eligible app users will receive a free hot beverage and a free baked good.
"All parties agree this is a fair settlement," the coffee giant continued, "and we look forward to the Superior Court of Quebec's decision on the proposal. We are confident that pending the Quebec court's approval of the settlement, the courts in British Columbia and Ontario will recognize the settlement."
Tim Hortons later sent an email to all the users whose data was surreptitiously stolen, stating: "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," the email continued, "eligible app users will receive a free hot beverage and a free baked good. Distribution details will be provided following approval, in the event that the court approves the settlement."
The email highlights that the hot beverage will be worth $6.19 and the baked good, $2.30.
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