Michael Geist: The Great Canadian Personal Data Grab

InsightaaS: We are transparent in our appreciation of and support for Michael Geist, the leading Canadian expert on communications policy and privacy legislation. In this post, Geist highlights recent changes made by RBC and Aeroplan to increase – substantially – their access to customers’ personal information. It often seems as though individuals are powerless to understand, let alone affect, these types of policies, but both Geist’s commentary and the comments below it help illustrate ways in which Canadians can take better control of their own data.

The Royal Bank of Canada updated its mobile application for Android users earlier this month. Like many banking apps, the RBC version allows users to view account balances, pay bills, and find bank branches from their smartphone. Yet when users tried to install the app, they were advised that the bank would gain access to a wide range of personal data.

The long list of personal data – far longer than that found in comparable applications from banks such as TD Canada Trust or Bank of Montreal – included permission to use the device’s camera, to read the user’s call history, to access the user’s Internet browsing habits, and to even check out their browser bookmarks. After users took to Twitter and the Google app review section to complain, RBC advised that it would update the app and that users should “stay tuned” about the permission requirements…

Read the entire post: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6970/135/