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The Globe and Mail

Privacy commission investigates Loblaw over gift card information requests

The Loblaws location on Carlton Street in Toronto is seen on Thursday May 2, 2013.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal privacy commission has asked Loblaw Companies Ltd. for more information about its decision to request some customers to provide additional personal information to secure a gift card related to the alleged bread price-fixing scandal.

Privacy concerns have been raised by customers about the grocer's request for information such as a scan of their driver's licence or utility bill in order to receive the card.

The company has said it is only collecting the information for verification purposes and will then destroy it.

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It has said the vast majority of customers won't be required to make the additional step, but it has not provided details as to how they are choosing to single out some people.

Loblaw has offered customers a $25 gift card as a goodwill gesture after admitting their participating in what they say was an industry-wide arrangement to fix bread prices.

On its website, the privacy commissioner notes that the stringency of authentication processes should be commensurate with the risks to the organization as well as to the individual.

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