CBC‘s Marketplace has exposed serious privacy breaches at tech repair stores across Ontario, including major chains like Best Buy and Mobile Klinik.
The investigation revealed that technicians in more than half of the documented cases accessed intimate photos and private information unrelated to the repair, raising significant concerns about the security of personal data during repair services.
According to the CBC report, the investigation involved dropping off smartphones and laptops at 20 different stores across Ontario. The list included small independent shops to medium-sized chains and larger national retailers.
All devices were pre-equipped with monitoring software to track technician activity, and “intimate selfie-style photos.”
Out of all the stores targeted, four showed no activity or didn’t turn the devices on. Elsewhere, technicians at nine stores accessed private data. Alarmingly, one technician not only viewed personal photos but copied them onto a USB drive.
Mobile Klinik, Canada Computers, Link It Up, Dr. Phone Fix, SK Computers, Best Buy, Computerlink.ca and KwPC and Cell Repair were the stores where repair technicians accessed personal data.
Under federal privacy law, all commercial businesses, including tech repair stores, are obligated to limit the collection of personal information to what is necessary for the repair. So going through personal data, let alone copying it onto a USB drive, is illegal under the federal privacy law.
Check out the complete CBC report on technicians snooping in on customer data here.
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