November 27, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Biron’s company has used the COVID-19 tests to promote itself

Biron's company has used the COVID-19 tests to promote itself

A Quebec company ordered by Ottawa to conduct mandatory COVID tests at Montreal-Trudeau airport secretly used travelers’ emails to boost a marketing campaign amid the health crisis.

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“Individuals who are required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the border do not expect that the personal information they provide to organizations performing these tests will be used for promotional purposes,” the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has decided. yesterday

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The watchdog caught a fly on the ears of a passenger who received a statement from Biran Group Sante (Biran) via email a few days after receiving his Covid-19 test result.

“The commissioner’s office is of the opinion that Biron could not reasonably have assumed that the passenger had consent to come to Canada,” the commissioner’s office said.

There is no other option

According to the OPC, Biron is the only company offering this kind of service at the airport and passengers have no choice but to do so with the company in compliance with the law.

“In this case, these travelers did not expect their personal information to be used for purposes other than for a mandatory screening test,” we emphasized.

Today, the case is “solved”. Biron has already vowed to delete the emails of 147,000 travelers who are not his customers.

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“Because Biron stopped the problematic practice and took corrective action and the complainant was satisfied with the actions Biron took in response to her complaint, it was resolved during the subsequent investigation,” concluded the office of the Commissioner for Protection of Privacy.

“Biron is mistaken”

Michel Seguin, a professor and ethics expert at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), says organizations like Biron have a duty to respect data owners.

“The organization will not use the information obtained for purposes other than those for which it was intended,” he summarized.

“Biron is mistaken. It shall not use them and destroy the information within a reasonable time. She has failed in her duty,” he added.

No comment…

On Thursday, Biron declined an interview request Log.

Its head of communications and public relations, Annie Gauthier, is keen to respond Log By a short written statement.

“Let me tell you that there is nothing more to add to the Commissioner’s Office announcement,” she said in an emailed response.

-with Sylvain Larocque

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada wants the federal government and Parliament to change the law so that companies that commit the offense can be fined.

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