RBC moves to calm mobile clients on privacy fears

Royal Bank of Canada yesterday moved quickly to allay customer fears that the bank is selling client data that its mobile banking app gathers from customer’s mobile devices.

The privacy concerns surfaced this week shortly after RBC rolled out an update to its mobile banking application and customers using Android-powered smart phones found that the app was requesting permission to access their call logs, contacts and even their GPS location. This sparked fears that the bank was “spying” on its customers and possibly sharing private information with other companies.

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us regarding the update to our RBC Mobile for Android app,” RBC said in its Facebook page yesterday. “We’re currently working on clarifying for everyone, why RBC Mobile requires certain permission.”

The bank said there will be an update to the app which will be available soon.

The app requires access to only limited information on mobile devices “in order to provide you with the best mobile banking experience possible,” an RBC spokesperson told the daily the Globe and Mail. “To be clear, RBC does not sell this information.”

The spokesperson said the mobile device provider “sets the language for the categories of data” being requested and that the bank does not have the ability to “be more specific about the data we request.”

RBC is creating a new site to address the permissions that its app requests. The page is expected to be online in 48 hours.


Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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