Article by Dale Carruthers, London Free Press
Ontario’s government-run cannabis retailer is assuring its future customers that their privacy is the top priority, an issue ranked as a major concern for marijuana users in a recent report.
Critics have raised concerns about how Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) customers’ data will be used and stored after the online delivery service launches on Oct. 17. There are worries the data may be stored in the United States, where American border agents could access it and ban travellers from entering the U.S. for using a drug that’s illegal there under federal law.
The OCS this week announced it’s taking steps to safeguard customers’ privacy and keep their buying history confidential.
“Unlike many online retailers, the OCS wants the lightest possible touch on consumer data,” the LCBO-run company said in a statement.
Ensuring data is stored within Canada and other privacy considerations were key factors in deciding to partner with Shopify, the Ottawa-based e-commerce platform. All information collected will be deleted and no information will be sold to third parties after it’s held for a minimum time, the company says.
Online buyers — who must be Ontario residents over 19 years of age — won’t be required to create an online account or profile to use the OCS web service. The buyers will asked to show government-issued identification when the order is delivered, but a copy won’t be made, the company says.
“A third-party risk assessment of OCS privacy and security systems has confirmed that the online store will meet or exceed global e-commerce standards,” the company says, adding it will have 24-hour security monitoring and ongoing security testing.