Home Depot gave personal data to Meta without valid customer consent: watchdog
Retailer Home Depot shared details from electronic receipts with Meta, which operates the Facebook social media platform, without the knowledge or consent of customers, the federal privacy watchdog has found.
In a report released Thursday, privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne said the data included encoded email addresses and in-store purchase information.
The commissioner's investigation discovered that the information sent to Meta was used to see whether a customer had a Facebook account.
If they did have an account, Meta compared what the customer bought at Home Depot to advertisements sent over the platform to measure and report on the effectiveness of the ads.
Meta was also able to use the customer information for its own business purposes, including user profiling and targeted advertising, unrelated to Home Depot, the commissioner found.
It is unlikely that Home Depot customers would have expected their personal information to be shared with a social media platform simply because they opted for an electronic receipt, Dufresne said in a statement.
He reminded companies that they must obtain valid consent at the point of sale to engage in this type of activity.
"As businesses increasingly look to deliver services electronically, they must carefully consider any consequential uses of personal information, which may require additional consent."
Home Depot told the privacy commissioner it relied on implied consent and that its privacy statement, available through its website and in print upon request at retail outlets, adequately explained the company's use of information. The retailer also cited Facebook's privacy statement.
The commissioner rejected Home Depot's argument, saying the privacy statements were not readily available to customers at the checkout counter, adding shoppers would have no reason to seek them out.
"The explanations provided in its policies were ultimately insufficient to support meaningful consent," Dufresne said.
He recommended that Home Depot stop disclosing the personal information of customers who request an electronic receipt to Meta until it is able to put in place measures to ensure valid consent.
Home Depot fully co-operated with the investigation, agreed to implement the recommendations and stopped sharing customer information with Meta in October, the commissioner said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.
Meta funds a limited number of fellowships that support emerging journalists at The Canadian Press.
MORE Business News
opinion | What happens if you mistakenly get a larger tax refund?
Was your 2022 tax refund larger than you expected it to be? For many, this likely comes as a pleasant surprise. However, overpayments are likely the result of a mistake on your part or the Canada Revenue Agency. If you don’t amend your returns and the overpayment isn’t returned, you could end up in hot water.
How to claim Ontario's staycation tax credit on your tax return
People in Ontario who vacationed in the province last year can claim the trip on their upcoming tax returns, and here’s how to do it.
Thinking of an alternative lender? What it could mean for your mortgage
As economic conditions make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, Canadians are increasingly looking to alternative lenders, particularly amid interest rates. CTVNews.ca looks at why Canadians are seeking private lenders and the potential benefits and risks attached to them.
opinion | Tips on how to get the most out of your TFSA
The federal government's latest TFSA contribution limit increase took effect this year. On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributor Christopher Liew outlines eight tips on how Canadians can get the most out of this popular savings account.
opinion | These are the new tax brackets for 2023
There are going to be some changes to Canada's tax brackets as we move into 2023. These changes could impact how you’re taxed when you file your 2023 income tax returns next year.
Canadian food bloggers share tips, tricks to make filling budget-friendly meals
Food bloggers and cookbook authors say meal-planning and simple recipes can help home cooks put together filling and tasty dishes on a budget -- an increasingly stressful challenge amid rising food prices.
Canadians fell for more home improvement scams in 2022, new report finds
The Better Business Bureau says Canadians fell for home improvement scams the most in 2022, in a report highlighting the riskiest scams and how much money they cost Canadians.
'Not every sale is a bargain': How to avoid common money mistakes
In light of new poll results that found Canadians are spending a lot of time worrying about money, one personal finance expert shares some simple tips to help Canadians avoid making some common, costly mistakes with their cash.