Marketplace investigation recorded technicians peeping on personal photos, browser history

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    46 months ago

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    For the Marketplace investigation, Khan, along with graduate students Angela Tran and Brandon Lit, loaded four smartphones and six laptops with the kind of private data many users would have on their devices: financial information, social media and email accounts, as well as browser history.

    For the smartphone test, Prof. Mohammad Mannan from Concordia University and his Ph.D. student Sajjad Pourali created a repair issue — a flickering screen — and installed logging software that screen-recorded the technicians’ actions.

    However, at a location in Woodbridge, the team documented that a Mobile Klinik technician scrolled through the Facebook account on the device, and looked through photos stored on the phone, including intimate selfies.

    After Marketplace dropped off a laptop at a Markham location of the electronics and tech repair chain Best Buy, which has 164 stores across Canada, Khan’s team found a technician had browsed through several photo folders, including ones with names like “Bikinis,” “Date Fits” and “Nightwear.”

    At the Markham location, a technician viewed intimate photos as extra large icons, which makes them easier to see without actually opening them, meaning they wouldn’t turn up as recently accessed files.

    In an emailed statement, Canada Computers said it takes “its obligation to respect its customers’ personal information very seriously” and that its own investigation of the incident indicated it was an isolated event where one technician at one location violated its privacy policy.


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