ID scan technology at Alcanna liquor stores collected too much data, says investigation

An identification scanning method utilized by some Alberta liquor merchants violated provincial privacy guidelines by accumulating extra information and facts than authorized from customers’ driver’s licences, an investigation has located.  

The findings from the Place of work of the Information and Privateness Commissioner (OIPC) had been produced Thursday. 

Alcanna, which operates liquor merchants in Alberta underneath the brand names Liquor Depot, Ace Liquor Discounters and Wine and Beyond, released the pilot method with help from Edmonton law enforcement at three outlets in January 2020. 

The plan takes advantage of scanning know-how developed by Patronscan, a Calgary-centered business. Customers scan their governing administration-issued identification to unlock a door into the retailer. 

Alcanna hoped the program would assistance decrease theft and claimed data would only be held for 90 days unless a consumer committed a crime. 

On the other hand, the investigation located that Alcanna was collecting and retaining far more facts than is permitted underneath Alberta’s Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. 

The act will allow licenced premises like nightclubs and liquor outlets to accumulate names, ages and photos. Having said that, the program used by Alcanna was also collecting data saved in the driver’s licence bar code, which incorporates gender and a partial postal code. 

That contravened the Individual Information Protection Act (PIPA), the legislation that regulates the private sector, reported the report.

The investigation manufactured 16 findings and 5 recommendations. Alcanna presently complied with the initially suggestion when it moved in February to stop collecting gender and postal codes.

Safer merchants

Taylor Mann, Alcanna’s director of corporate investigations and arranged retail criminal offense, mentioned the enterprise has previously complied with the remaining tips. The organization improved its signage to explain what information and facts is getting collected and the place to connect with with issues. The firm has also produced policies and methods for rolling out the technology to other outlets.

Scanners are now utilized at 7 suppliers in Edmonton and two in Calgary. The business has minimized the time it holds data from 90 to 21 days, Mann mentioned. 

He claimed the technologies has significantly decreased thefts and money robberies. 

“People today really feel safer,” he said. “It makes a secure purchasing ecosystem and safe do the job natural environment.”

Mann said the firm is happy the investigation is above and acknowledges a privacy evaluation must have been accomplished.

He said Patronscan considered that the technologies had been vetted by the privacy commissioner. 

When the job was introduced in January 2020, Alcanna’s CEO James Burns explained that Patronscan had been performing “with privacy workplaces in Alberta, Canada, throughout North The usa, to make certain this is all privacy compliant with each laws and norms of culture.”

But the report by the privateness commissioner’s business office states that isn’t really accurate. Commissioner Jill Clayton explained her place of work wasn’t knowledgeable of the venture right up until it was declared at the news conference. 

Patronscan was relying on a privateness influence assessment from 2009. The company’s main government officer told CBC Information in January 2020 that the corporation did not arrive at out to the privateness commissioner mainly because the pilot venture made use of the very same technologies that experienced been in bars for a lot more than a decade. 

But Clayton proposed the use of identification scanners at a bar and use at a retail liquor shop are not the identical. 

“The results from a evaluation by my office are only as legitimate as the representations and info built offered to us, and PIA (privateness impact evaluation) acceptance is not a ‘seal of approval’ for advertising and marketing needs, particularly when a engineering is applied in a new and unique way, in a unique context,” she wrote in the report.

Marcy Willis

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