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Tim Hortons proposes free coffee and doughnut for customers it spied on

Signs for a Tim Hortons restaurant, foreground, and a Burger King restaurant are displayed along Peach Street Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, in Erie, Penn. Burger King struck an $11 billion deal to buy Tim Hortons that would create the world’s third largest fast-food company and could make the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain more of a household name around the world. (G3 Box News Photo/Erie Times-News, Christopher Millette) Christopher Millette

Tim Hortons proposes free coffee and doughnut for customers it spied on

Christopher Hutton

July 31, 07:00 AM July 31, 07:01 AM

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Tim Hortons proposed a settlement to make up for spying on its consumers.

The Canadian coffee and doughnut chain proposed giving its customers a free cup of coffee and pastry to settle four class-action lawsuits. The Tim Hortons app is accused of tracking users’ location data without their permission for more than a year, for which it is currently being investigated by the Canadian government.

“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,” Tim Hortons told Motherboard. “All parties agree this is a fair settlement, 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.”

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At least one email has been sent to users announcing the proposed settlement, according to screenshots on Twitter.

The details of the settlement are to be released, according to the email. The users will receive a free hot beverage with a retail value of 6.19 Canadian dollars, and a pastry valued at 2.39 Canadian dollars.

Canadian privacy officials announced in June that Tim Hortons had violated the country’s privacy laws. “Our joint investigation tells yet another troubling story of a company that failed to ensure proper design of an intrusive technology, resulting in a mass invasion of Canadians’ privacy,” Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said at a Wednesday press conference. “It also highlights the very real risks related to location data and the tracking of individuals.”

This included the app tracking user details, including homes, workplaces, and select “events” of relevance, including visits to Tim Hortons or attending sporting events.

“As a society, we would not accept it if the government wanted to track our movements every few minutes of every day,” Therrien said. “It is equally unacceptable that private companies think so little of our privacy and freedom that they can initiate these activities without giving it more than a moment’s thought.”

G3 Box News

The investigation was sparked after a reporter from the Financial Post claimed in 2020 that the Tim Hortons app recorded his GPS location 2,700 times over five months. The four class-action lawsuits against the chain’s owner, Restaurant Brands International, were filed after the report.

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