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Millions of shoppers had image taken by Cadillac Fairview cameras

Most of the customers didn’t know their images were being collected by cameras embedded in information kiosks.

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More than five million shoppers across Canada had their images collected in 12 malls owned by Cadillac Fairview, an investigation by privacy commissioners has found.

Most of the customers didn’t know their images were being collected by cameras embedded in information kiosks in July 2018.

“The goal, the company said, was to analyze the age and gender of shoppers and not to identify individuals. Cadillac Fairview also asserted that shoppers were made aware of the activity via decals it had placed on shopping mall entry doors that referred to their privacy policy – a measure the Commissioners determined was insufficient,” the commissioners said in a Thursday release.

“Cadillac Fairview also asserted that it was not collecting personal information, since the images taken by camera were briefly analyzed then deleted. However, the Commissioners found that Cadillac Fairview did collect personal information, and contravened privacy laws by failing to obtain meaningful consent as they collected the 5 million images with small, inconspicuous cameras.  Cadillac Fairview also used video analytics to collect and analyze sensitive biometric information of customers.”

The investigation also found facial recognition software was used to generate additional personal information about individual shoppers, including estimated age and gender.

While the images were deleted, investigators found that the sensitive biometric information generated from the images was being stored in a centralized database by a third party.

Cadillac Fairview stated that it was unaware that the database of biometric information existed, which compounded the risk of potential use by unauthorized parties or, in the case of a data breach, by malicious actors, said the release.

“Shoppers had no reason to expect their image was being collected by an inconspicuous camera, or that it would be used, with facial recognition technology, for analysis,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien.

“The lack of meaningful consent was particularly concerning given the sensitivity of biometric data, which is a unique and permanent characteristic of our body and a key to our identity.” 

Jill Clayton, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, said: “This investigation exposes how opaque certain personal information business practices have become.

“Not only must organizations be clear and up front when customers’ personal information is being collected, they must also have proper controls in place to know what their service providers are doing behind the scenes with that information.”

Michael McEvoy, Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, said: “Questions about when an organization is collecting personal information can be complex, but the conclusion we came to about cameras in mall directories was straight-forward, – pictures of individuals were taken and analyzed in a manner that required notice and consent.”

The company has now removed the cameras and has no plans to reinstall them.

In a statement, the company said: “While the focus of this report is of a technology that was disabled and removed more than two years ago, we want to reiterate that we take the concerns of our visitors seriously and are committed to protecting our visitors’ privacy. 

“As we continue to enhance the in-mall experience and better connect with our digitally engaged customers, we are, and will always be, deeply committed to privacy and responsible data usage.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

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Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox

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The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Legal fund for arrested restaurant owner Skelly hits $150,000

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

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Legal funds raised for a Toronto-area man arrested after he refused to close his BBQ joint have already topped $150,000.

A crowd of supporters chanted “Shame” as police took Adam Skelly, 33, away on Thursday afternoon.

Skelly being arrested

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

GoFundMe campaign online boasts at least 3,200 people donating over $150,000 for the owner of Adamson Barbecue

More than 10 police cars as many as 18 officers came to the restaurant after a Wednesday raid saw them change the locks and bolt it shut.

Before being arrested, Skelly vowed to remain open.

“The break-in of #adamsonbarbecue by Toronto Police and the city is tyrannical. They CANNOT silence us!” he tweeted Thursday.

He also issued a call for a locksmith to come and help him get into his place in Etobicoke.

“This isn’t just about #adamsonbarbecue. it’s about all small businesses and their livelihoods. spread the word and let’s get back to work. thank you. #IStandWithAdam” he tweeted.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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