PEI

Province pulls electronic ID scanners from cannabis stores

Finance Minister Heath MacDonald said the scanners will be gone for good, unless there's some other need or reason to bring them back.

The stores will now abide by the same policy used at provincial liquor stores

The Cannabis Management Corporation says an IT specialist examined the scanners Friday and found some data was being kept for 24 hours in the devices. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Cannabis stores across the province will no longer use electronic ID scanners.

The decision comes after some customers questioned what information was being collected, and how it was being used. 

The concerns prompted an ongoing investigation from P.E.I.'s information and privacy commissioner. 

In an email to CBC Friday, Cannabis Management Corporation said the scanners were meant to safeguard against underage purchases and fake IDs. 

If there's technicalities that we're not aware of that these systems are utilizing, then we shouldn't be utilizing the system. And that's exactly why we're pulling the plug on it.— Heath MacDonald

"They were not meant to retain or track any data, but an IT specialist examined the scanners today and found some data was being kept for 24 hours inside the device," it said.

"This data was immediately wiped and settings were changed so as not to keep data in the future."

Finance Minister Heath MacDonald said the scanners will be gone for good, unless there's some other need or reason to bring them back.

"If there's technicalities that we're not aware of that these systems are utilizing, then we shouldn't be utilizing the system. And that's exactly why we're pulling the plug on it," he said. 

Finance Minister Heath MacDonald says the scanners will be gone for good, unless there's some other need or reason to bring them back. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

MacDonald said the stores will instead abide by the policy used in provincial liquor stores. They don't use scanners, but ask for ID from any customers who appear to be under the age of 30. 

"We'll step up and have an individual actually checking IDs, and if there seems to be a person that looks underage, then check their ID. If there seems to be a person that's over 60 for example, perhaps we don't need to check IDs," he said.

MacDonald said there were some unanswered technical questions around the scanners.

He said the privacy commissioner did not play a role in the decision. 

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With files from Steve Bruce

With files from Steve Bruce

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